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  • Connor Ewens

Every WCW PPV Reviewed & Ranked: Part 8

Ladies and Gentleman, here we are. After 7 gruelling weeks of wrestling excellence and Botchamania highlights, we arrive at the conclusion of this series. Over 150 shows watched, over 1000 matches analysed. All of the greatness and the shitness as led us to this moment. Have you had a good time? I hope so. I can't say I've fully enjoyed the experience, but it has been very educational. All of my knowledge about WCW came from YouTube channels or wrestling reviewers, so to witness WCW for myself was quite refreshing. It turns out, they really cocked it up as bad as everyone says they did. Unfortunately, WCW will always be remembered for the mistakes that they made, rather than the greatness they achieved. Nearly every single territory that stood in the way of the WWF was crushed, none of them gave such a fight quite like WCW did. So today, we will forget all of WCWs shortcomings and celebrate the very best that they had to offer. I present to you, the best shows to come from Ted Turner's Tirade of Testosterone.

#19: Spring Stampede, April 11th 1999. 52.8%

We begin our list today with one final trip to to wacky year of 1999. Many fans and critics consider this the last good show that WCW produced, which is a fair assumption considering the extreme downhill slide they would head down. Following another bad Uncensored show, the marquee match for this show was a st-st-STACKED four corners main event for the big gold.

But first, our opener was a cruiserweight number 1 contender's match between Blitzkrieg and Juventud Guerrera. I had not seen Blitzkrieg before, but I had praise about his performances. He he only wrestled for 5 years before retiring. After being injured, he got interested in medicine and wanted to help the injured rather than be the injured. He sounds like a good dude. This match is a banger. A showcase of athleticism that put both men over. Blitzkrief was so damn impressive for essentially a rookie. One of the best WCW matches of the year (4). Hak (FKA Sandman) vs Bam Bam Bigelow in a street fight. This was a fun hardcore match, clearly emulating the popular ECW style. This was one of the few hardcore matches WCW did that was enjoyable to watch and not just garbage brawling. This was still trashy brawling, but it was a lot more fun than later attempts (3). Scotty Riggs takes on Mikey Whipwreck. This was filler, made obvious by its late addition. This wasn't very good, a pretty weak TV-quality match to kill about 10 minutes. Why did they put over Riggs here? He had zero momentum and zero fan interest, whereas Whipwreck did (1).

Konnan vs Disco Inferno. Another one of these weird music genre feuds WCW had a weird obsession with. Rap vs Disco here, there's an obvious winner for me at least. #teambeegees This was better than the previous match but still not great, rather dull. A generic TV match (1.5). Rey Mysterio defends the cruiserweight championship against Kidman. These two are both faces and are the current tag team champions too. Unsurprisingly, this was a very good back and forth match, both men respect each other but were willing to push each other to the limits (3.5). Raven & Saturn take on Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko. Saturn is a part of Raven's flock but they have been at odds recently, but they're putting aside their differences to fight the former tag champions, repping the Horsemen. This was a great tag match, 3/4 of the guys in this are fondly remembered for their in-ring ability. Raven though really impressed me during this one, he looks cool and he kept up with 3 more talented technicians. All these guys worked well with each other (3.75). The finals in the US Championship tournament sees TV champion Booker T face Scott Steiner. Both men were being pushed harder by WCW as singles, especially Scott becoming Big Poppa Pump. This was a solid match, Booker fought from beneath for a lot of this and Steiner looked more intense than ever before. Steiner goes over by cheating which is on brand and a good decision for him to continue to grow as a singles (2.5).

Kevin Nash vs Goldberg is next, a much anticipated rematch from their Starrcade debacle. You know, the one with the taser. This was alright, purely set up for Goldberg to get his win back. Your usual Goldberg match (1.75). Main event time. Ric Flair defends the WCW Championship against Hulk Hogan, Sting & Diamond Dallas Page. After soo many underwhelming, badly booked or badly worked main events, we finally get an enjoyable one. It's far from a great match but it delivers on excitement and fan investment. Randy Savage returned recently and he is the referee, adding even more flavour to the match. Plenty of action, Hogan is taken out of the match early too which is a good thing. I don't know if it was done because Hogan didn't want to be involved in the finish, or if it's because he is limited in the ring, but it was a good choice. Everyone looked like winners at some point, but the glory went to the man who needed it and deserved it the most as DDP drops Flair with the Diamond Cutter for the win. Good show (2.75). Well built card from top to bottom, the weaknesses kept short and closing on a feel good moment, with one of WCW's best main events in a long time.

MOTN- Blitzkrieg vs Juventud Guerrera

#18: Uncensored, March 16th 1997. 52.9%

As this series has exposed, one of WCWs reliably weakest PPV events of the year was Uncensored. Originally introduced to be a show stacked with match types and no DQ stipulations, it eventually dropped that persona and it was probably for the best. They kept putting on repetitively awful no DQ matches. King of the Road match? Doomsday cage? Yappapi Indian strap match? Nah, I'm good. In 1997 though, WCWs most lucrative year, they pulled off their best Uncensored show thanks to their stacked roster and inferno-hot nWo storyline.

Eddie Guerrero defends the US Championship against Dean Malenko in a No Disqualification match. This one has been bubbling for some time and this is a blowoff for the feud. This was an excellent way to start the show, both men wrestling a good match with some painful looking spots and weapon use. I didn't think this needed Syxx to interfere for the finish, I prefer matches featuring these guys to finish cleanly but I didn't hate it. Guerrero tore his pectoral during this match, a true testament to how great he was (3.75). Psychosis vs Ultimo Dragon. Another clash of the cruiserweights and its another very good match. Not quite as good as the opener, but that in no way discredits the work these two put in. WCW are pushing Ultimo so he goes over here, but Psychosis looked great in defeat (3.5) Glacier takes on Mortis next, more attempts to capitalise on the Mortal Kombat craze. I was surprised at how good this was. Glacier wasn't a good wrestler but he did okay here, Mortis looked great though. He was a real powerhouse that elevated the match quality (2.5).

The American Males continue to explode as we get a rematch between Scotty Riggs and Buff Bagwell. The weakest match of the next, which probably doesn't shock you, but this isn't too bad. It went too long, lacked fan investment and the feud was beyond dead at this point. Another win for an nWo member to continue the factions momentum (1.75). We have a Texas Tornado tag next, Harlem Heat against Public Enemy. This was absolute carnage, the most violent hardcore match on the card by a mile. The Enemy made their names in ECW so they brought their signature style with them. Lot's of weapons and lots of spots. Harlem Heat keep up with them well. Not a clean match, but rather entertaining (2.25). Prince Iaukea defends the TV Championship against Rey Mysterio. This was about what I expected from the Prince who was largely underwhelming, but I consider this a disappointing Mysterio match. It was fine, solidly worked but then the time expired after maybe 10 minutes which is rather short even for the TV title, traditionally the title had 15 minute time limits. They restarted to have a clear winner, so why do that spot in the first place? All it did was kill the momentum, so it had a boring finish (2).

A pretty stacked but unnecessarily confusing main event with a triangle tag match. Team nWo (Hogan, Nash, Hall & Savage) vs Team WCW (The Giant, Luger, The Steiner's) vs Team Piper (Piper, Benoit, Jarrett & Mongo). 1 man from each time will start, after 5 minutes another member from each team will join the fight and then we carry on until everyone is out. It's a worse WarGames basically. It's elimination too, which can occur via pinfall, submission or over-the-top rope. So it's a WarGames x Survivor Series x Royal Rumble thing. Team WCW are a man down because Rick was taken out earlier. Why don't they just replace him you ask? Good question. Oh, also each team has winning conditions too, because of course they fucking do. If Team WCW win, the nWo have to relinquish all titles they hold and cannot compete for WCW for 3 years. If nWo win, they can challenge for any WCW title any time they want. If Piper's team wins, Piper will get a match against Hogan in a cage. Way too much going on. Also, WCWs win condition is so insanely extreme that it's hard to believe they have a chance. It's a mess of a main event but hell it's pretty fun! The story was to show off how dominant the nWo were, with a great showing for Luger near the end who went on an elimination tear. They have done this narrative a few times though, you got anyone else who can maybe be put over instead of Luger? Once Piper's team was eliminated it was almost guarenteed an nWo victory and that's what happened (2.75). Sting comes down and wipes out the nWo during their celebrations to close the show on a happy note. A very good show for story development and for wrestling quality too.

MOTN- Dean Malenko vs Eddie Guerrero

#17: Superbrawl VII, February 23rd 1997. 53%

Preceding the last event we just talked about is this show, one of WCWs biggest events of the year. This show has the honour of being the very best Superbrawl ever produced. A pretty stacked card mainly built around the huge rematch from Starrcade, as Piper once again challenges the Hulkster for the world title. We will talk about how good/bad Hogan vs Piper at Starrcade was a litle later, but let's se how the much anticipated rematch holds up.

The show opens with shots from Alcatraz prison, where Roddy Piper said he was going to stay in preparation for his rematch. He gets on a boat and he is heading this way. A creative opener to say the least. Dean Malenko defends the cruiserweight championship against Syxx. A good match to start, Malenko is such a master at wrestling and his run in WCWs cruiserweight division was him at his peak. Syxx is good here too, keeping up with the champ throughout. Sxx tries to cheat to win, Guerrero tries to stop it but actually ends up costing him the match. A good finish that complimented a storyline as well as the cheap victory (3). Konnan, La Parka & Villano IV vs Juventud Guerrera, Ciclope & Super Calo. It's lucha tag action, it's fast-paced fun, it's a wacky spot fest. The same as most of the other ones I've talked about but equally as enjoyable (3.5). Prince Iaukea defends the TV title against Rey Mysterio. We've talked about these two wrestling before, this was too short to be too good but what we saw was pretty fun. I don't rate Iaukea much, Rey looked solid but occasionally sloppy (2.5). DDP takes on Buff Bagwell next. Page was really beginning is meteoric rise to the top here as the face of WCW against the evil nWo. It ends in a DQ finish but it makes sense in the story, as Page won't be beaten and the black and white come out to beat him up. Good action and more popularity for DDP (3).

Eddie Guerrero defends the US championship against Chris Jericho. These two future stars were always bound to have a good match, and that is what this was. They would both go on to have far superior matches, but you could see their potential here (3). We have a 3 way dance between the Faces of Fear, the Public Enemy & Harlem Heat. This was filler and it was obvious. They barely got much time to work, they did alright with what time they had but this had zero story and zero stakes so it had zero interest (1.75). Jeff Jarrett faces Steve McMichael, if he wins he will become an official Horsemen. Jarrett winning was a forgone conclusion because that was the story being told. Mongo is bad in the ring, but Jarrett is good enough to make this match alright. Plus, there was fan investment which always helps (2). A San Francisco Death match next, Kevin Sullivan vs Chris Benoit. The long-lasting feud that lead to Woman fully committing to the storyline and leaving Kevin Sullivan for real. Woman and Jacqueline are strapped together at ringside whilst their respective men tear each other apart. The men brawled all over the building, and so did the women! This was a short but wild match with a cool table spot for a Benoit win (3.25).

The Outsiders defend the WCW Tag Championships against The Giant and Lex Luger, but Luger is banned for being injured so its a handicap. This was a great match with great storytelling as the Giant was worked over by the heels but managed to stay fighting. Syxx was also here to increase the odds against Giant. Lex Luger comes out and he can't be stopped as he charges the ring. He gets a FUEGO hot tag and Luger ran absolutely wild and the fans loved it. He manages to rack Nash for a huge win. This was good booking, the titles would be stripped the next night because Luger was banned and not medically cleared (3.5). Our big rematch closes the show. Hulk Hogan defending the world title against Roddy Piper. Hot Rod is still selling his time in Alcatraz. This was a slow, dull Hogan match like all of the rest. The heat made it watchable but it had such a confusing ending. The teased heel turn finally happened as Randy Savage helped Hogan win, kind of. Hogan was out for the 3 count so Piper should have won, but Savage put Hogan's foot on the rope AFTER the third count, making it look dumb. He slipped a foreign object to Hogan who used it for a cheap win. Poorly executed finish to a poorly executed match (1). A shame about the bad main event, because everything else was great.

MOTN- Lucha Libre 6-man tag

#16: Halloween Havoc, October 27th 1996. 53.4%

"A Night of Terror & Suspense!" Says WCW, and for once they were right! Often a mixed bad of a show, the '96 event of spooky chaos was the best one WCW ever did with a top to bottom card with good action. This show would mark the WCW debut of certain outspoken rebel who just left the Federation.

Rey Mysterio defends the Cruiserweight championship against Dean Malenko. Wow, what a way to kick off the show. These two fought at the Great American Bash earlier in the year in Rey's WCW debut, a match that we'll talk about very soon. WCW gave them almost 20 minutes to tear it up and they did NOT disappoint. Fantastic chemistry, fantastic sequences and jaw-dropping offence. Those powerbomb reversals by Malenko looked brutal. The action and story was well conveyed by an on form Mike Tenay. What a perfect way to begin (4.25). Eddie Guerrero vs DDP for the Battle Bowl ring. Dallas won the Battle Bowl, but he lost his ring to Eddie in a match at Clash of the Champions. He refused to give the ring over though, so he is still in possession and brokered this rematch. The wrestling was mostly good, Guerrero did well but DDP wasn't quite at the level he would reach over the next year. There were some awkward, disjointed moments in this too. Just shy of being a good match (2.75). The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett next, Jeff snubbed the nWo in favour of wanting to be a part of the Horsemen, though he is yet to be added. This was fine for the most part, a usual big vs small match but a DQ finish by Ric Flair kicking Giant in the clems was disappointing. I'm not sure why this needed a DQ finish (2).

Chris Jericho takes on Syxx. This was a really good match brought down by the excessive interference from crooked referee Nick Patrick. A nice back and forth with Jericho being in control mostly, but anytime he tries a pin the count by "injured" Patrick is reeeaaaaal slow. Good work by these two (3.25). Arn Anderson vs Lex Luger follows next. This was another match that just narrowly missed out on being good for 2 reasons. It had a slow beatdown segment in the middle that sucked the air out of the match a bit, also the crowd were not invesrted much until the final 5 minutes. Once it got going though it was an enjoyable showdown, Luger gets his revenge for the Horsemen leaving him for dead (2.75). The Faces of Fear take on the remaining Horsemen we haven't scene, Chris Benoit & Mongo. A well worked match. the FoF were getting over by having fun power matches during this period. Mongo always looked his best in tag matches when he was covered by better performers (2.5). Harlem Heat defend the WCW Tag Team title against The Outsiders. The nWo was really getting hot by this point, they're supposed to be heels but the fans pop loud for Hall and Nash. This is a lot of fun, the crowd are crazy loud and the Outsiders play to them perfectly. It was a standard tag match but the crowd reactions elevated this massively, sometimes you just want to have a lot of fun (3).

The show is closed off as you'd expect, an underwhelming, poorly worked Hulk Hogan main event. He defends the WCW title against former friend Randy Savage. At least the crowd are still hot. Your usual stuff here, Randy tries his best, Hogan cheats his ass off, the entire nWo come out to interfere, Nick Patrick is beyond biased. There was a nice call back to their Wrestlemania V match here which I appreciated, but it's not enough to make this a good match. Way too much overbooking, not enough watchable wrestling. Hogan is knocked out by Savage, but The Giant comes out and wipes him out, dragging Hogan on top for the win (1). Hogan was out when he won, he has ice water thrown on him and he realises he won. A Hogan promo is interrupted by Roddy Piper! Huge reaction for Hot Rod. Hogan tries to kiss ass but Roddy ain't having it. Piper cuts a tremendous promo scathing 'Mr Hollywood' and demands to be acknowledged as just as big of a star. The show goes off the air as the back and forth is still going on.

MOTN- Rey Mysterio vs Dean Malenko

#15: Fall Brawl, September 14th 1997. 53.8%

The best show to come from '97 is this one. 4 of the PPVs from this year have ended up the top 20, there is also 4 from 1996 which I think speaks volumes as to how on form WCW were during this time period. The nWo was a Bischoff reimagining of the UWFi invasion in New Japan, a successful angle that temporarily saved the UWFi from bankruptcy. They popularised invasion angles, but WCW might have perfected it. This show follows Road Wild when Hogan won the WCW title for a third time.

Chris Jericho defends the Cruiserweight championship against Eddie Guerrero to start. A great 15+ minute match between two phenomenal talents who were still like 5 years away from their peak. It was very competitive, I liked the reversal finish leading to a frog splash, Guerrero would only hold the title for a month when he would face Mysterio in that GOAT level match (3.5). We get Harlem Heat vs The Steiners next. We saw these wrestle each other a lot during the mid-90s and it was almost always at least decent. This was another very competitive match, back and forth power moves and it's mostly good (2.75). Alex Wright defends the TV Championship against Ultimo Dragon. This went way too long for a Wright match, but it was good. The last 5-10 minutes were very good, but the first half of the match was really slow and uneventful. Wright was rarely fun to watch unless he had a great opponent. Ultimo is great, but Wright got too much offence in (3.25). Dean Malenko takes on Jeff Jarrett next, the winner will face the US champion at Halloween Havoc. A good match, as expected from any Malenko match. I was disappointed to see him tap out to Jarrett, now we have to see Jarrett vs Mongo again which we know by now wasn't much special (3).

Wrath & Mortis take on the Faces of Fear. A power man match to a tee, it was pretty decent but it had a few rest moments that killed the momentum. This was have been better as 5-10 minute power move sprint, but it wasn't bad (2.5). The Giant vs Scott Norton next. 5 minutes long, like it should be. Norton gets some solid offence in but Giant easily comes back for a dominant win. Fine for the time given (1.5). We have a no DQ tag match, DDP & Lex Luger vs Randy Savage & Scott Hall. This was fine, pretty straight forward with little use of the no DQW stipulation. The only reason it existed was to the build the story between Hall and announcer Larry Zbyzsko. Larry get involved and pushed Hall into a roll-up pinfall, we would see this story continue to develop for the rest of the year (2). Say it for me Regal..."WAARRGAAMMESS!!!" The nWo (Nash, Syxx, Konnan & Bagwell) face off with the Horsemen (Flair, Benoit, Mongo & Hennig). Hennig isn't out because there is concern whether he is medically able to compete after an attack by the nWo. Quite an underwhelming lineup for a marquee main event. Benoit was great here, he started the match and worked his ass off. entrants came in one by one and it just felt like a very basic multi-man match. It was a good match with the nWo staying in control throughout until Hennig appeared with a sling. He has handcuffs but he turns on the Horsemen and joins the nWo. The Horsemen cannot survive the 5-3 odds and Mongo quits when they threaten to crush Flair's head with the cage door (3). The Hennig heel turn was an awesome moment, they crushed Flair's head anyways and mocked the pro-Horsemen crowd. A consistent show with no real downsides from a physical perspective, just a few tweaks needed to the booking.

MOTN- Chris Jericho vs Eddie Guerrero

#14: Clash of the Champions, March 27th 1988. 54%

They say you never forget your first and we definitely won't be forgetting how awesome the first Clash event was. This event went head to head with Wrestlemania IV, in response to the creation of Survivor Series to dick over Starrcade. It pulled a 5.6 rating on TBS which I believe is the most watched Clash event WCW ever put on. This show is headlined by one of the best world title matches in company history. They could not recreate the magic of this show in their next 34 COTC shows.

We start off with a 'College Rules' match between Mike Rotunda and Jimmy Garvin. We're scheduled for three 5 minute rounds with the winner only needing a 1-count pinfall. This isn't much of a match, but an angle to demonstrate how Rotunda was a superior wrassler. Rotunda gets the win in the second round, the action was solid and so was the storytelling, but it wasn't too enjoyable (1.5). The Midnight Express defend the US Tag titles against the Fantastics. I'l get my negative comment out the way first, the DQ finish was lame. However, it built to a rematch which I was more than happy with because these two worked magic together. What an awesome match this was. These have been feuding for some time so it starts off with a hot ass brawl, before slowing down to an awesome tag match. The Fantastics fight back but they let their anger at the Express' naughty behaviour get the better of them, throwing the referee out of the ring moments before they are able to get a pinfall. Great shit right here, the fastest 10 minutes of my life (3.75). The Road Warriors & Dusty Rhodes defeated Ivan Koloff, The Barbarian & The Warlord in a Barbed Wire match. A 3 minute squash in-between loosely barbed-wired wrapped ringropes. Pretty short and pretty bad (0.5).

Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard defends the NWA tag titles against Barry Windham & Lex Luger. A textbook tag match between 4 of WCW's most legendary performers. Great psychology, great action, greatly enjoyable. Windham & Luger win, but they wouldn't hold the gold for long as Windham would be the next addition into the Horsemen ranks (3). Big time main event, Ric Flair defends the World championship against Sting. Sting had only been in the company for a year, but his popularity was rising due to his cool (at the time) surfer look, likable character and awesome in-ring ability. Ric Flair is in his absolute PEAK as a heel champion, being able to put on classics against anyone. This is a 45-minute time limit, with 3 judges to decide in case it goes to a draw. Gary Juster, Patty Mullen & Sandy Scott are the judges, 2 are wrestling officials and Patty is a model. Remember this important detail, the judges are there in case it's a time limit draw, okay? This is an absolute classic of a match. Sting wasn't at his best in the ring yet and maybe he was being pushed a little to quickly but he kept up with Flair impeccably here. An awesome back and forth, Flair grinding Sting down and going for the win early on, but then Sting coming back in the final third trying to put Flair away. Sting manages to get the Scorpion Deathlock in the final minute but Flair manages to hold on till the final bell. A draw. How will the judges score it. Gary Juster votes Sting. Patty Mullen, obviously biased and swooning for Flair chooses him, so it's down to Sandy Scott who calls it....a draw? Fucking really? What a stupid call. Why have the judges in the first place, just to call it a draw? Just have it end in a time limit draw! That poorly booked finish unfortunately docks a few marks but this is still one of the best world title matches of all time (4.75).

MOTN- Sting vs Ric Flair

#13: WCW x New Japan Supershow 1, March 21st 1991. 54.1%

The inaugural cross-over Supershow between two goliath's in global wrestling is something that would be seen as ground-breaking today, like when AEW teamed up with New Japan for the Forbidden Door shows. Back in the 90s though, working relationships between a US and a Japanese company were rather common. WCW popularised it, taking advantage more than any other company of the surreal level of talent available in Japan. The show was a success in Japan but didn't perform as good on PPV in the States. Meltzer reckons it would have worked better as a Clash and I agree. I got my hands on the full match card, not just the US version.

The opening match is Animal Hamaguchi, Kengo Kimura, Osamu Kido & Kantaro Hoshino vs Super Strong Machine, Hiro Saito, Tatsutoshi Goto & Norio Honaga. A standard for openers in Japan is multi-man matches. All of these guys made a name for themselves in NJPW's tag division, you may recognise Saito as a former WWF Junior Heavyweight champion as well as a member of the nWo. Animal was a successful tag champion who's daughter is 2x Olympic Bronze medalist Kyoko Hamaguchi. Hoshino was trained by legendary Rikidozan and tagged with Antonio Inoki at one point. This is your usual 'everyone gets time to shine' multi-man match, a competitive match to start the show (2.75). Another multi-man match next; Shiro Koshinaka, Kuniaki Kobayashi & Takayuki Iizuka vs Tim Horner, Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk. Koshinaka had a legendary career dominating the tag and Jr Heavyweight division, he was the inaugrual IWGP Jr Heavyweight champion. Kobayashi is best known for being a generational rival to two portrayals of Tiger Mask. Iizuka was a consistently great part of New Japan's roster for over 30 years. This was a very good match for under 10 minutes as they went nuts to the wall from bell to bell. Pillman & Zenk worked well with the Japanese style, this was probably Horner's best ever match (3.5). Scott Norton defeats the Equaliser in approximately 2 minutes, a good call because Equaliser sucked and Norton was over in Japan (1).

Jushin Thunder Liger defends the IWGP Jr Heavyweight title against Akira Nogami. This was an awesome match, showcasing techniques unfamiliar for the time period. This would have blown away any US viewer at the time. Liger retained after an avalanche DDT, later in the year Nogami would finally defeat him for the gold. These two would win the Jr. Heavyweight tag titles together in 2008 (3.75). The Horsemen, represented by Arn Anderson & Barry Windham, take on Masa Saito & Masa Chono. This was surprisingly average, a run through of the motions by Arn & Barry. I'm not sure if they were uncomfortable working the style or if they were jet lagged, I dunno. Something didn't click (2). Double title match next, WCW Tag Champions The Steiner's vs IWGP Tag Champions Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki. Hands down, the best tag team match in WCW history. We have seen some classics from the Midnight Express, the Rock 'N' Roll Express and the likes but this one was absolute wrestling perfection. Steiner's were arguably the best tag team in the world right here, Chono was near his peak too and Saito was an established legend. They only work for 10 minutes and it's all they need. Insane level of work-rate, the action is constant yet it's beautifully paced. Big moves, stiff strikes, an absolute must-watch classic (5). From that, we go to |El Gigante vs Big Cat Hughes. Fucking yikes. 2 minutes long and it was still bad, but not as awful as I was expecting. This was helped by Gigante being HUGELY over with the crowd. Japanese wrestling fans love giants (0.5).

Doom take on the team of Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow. The two behemoths have competed in Japan for some time and are hugely over. This was a solidly worked match, mainly because Vader & Bam Bam just beat Doom's ass for 10 minutes. Good fun (2.5). Riki Choshu defends the Greatest 18 Club title against Tiger Jeet Singh. This was a pretty average match, something you would see on TV. This was just a way to get Choshu on the card because he was a big draw (2). We have a 'grudge match' between The Great Muta vs Sting. You wouldn't think this was a grudge match apart from the ambush by Muta at the start. This felt like a match, it lacked the intensity fitting the feud. Still a good match, but not their best together (3.25). Our main event is a HUGE first time matchup between Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami. Both Flair's (the NWA World) title and Fujinami's (the IWGP World) title are on the line. A good main event, boosted by crowd investment. Flair tried to work his usual style of match against Fujinami's traditional puroresu style, which I think prevented this from being the classic we all hoped for. This was still a good watch (3.5). Awfully confusing title lineage bollocks here. Fujinami defeated Flair for the title, which the NWA acknowledge but WCW did not. They ruled it a disqualification for Flair being thrown over the top, as well as scheduled referee being knocked down and replaced by a New Japan ref. Commentary sell the finish as controversial. Such bullshit. This was a politics move which furthered the rift between WCW and NWA, also to set up a big rematch in the US at Superbrawl. WCW being unnecessary again.

MOTN- The Steiner's vs Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

#12: Great American Bash, June 16th 1996. 54.4%

We're going to talk about back to back to back shows from the wonderful year of 1996. They all have the same percentage score so I've ordered them from my least to most favourite. This show takes the bronze for '96 and deservingly so. This show happened just before the nWo angle even began which speaks volumes to the talent WCW already had before the angle blow them up. They went off the rails from mid-94 to mid-96 because of the overuse of Hogan and his old, weakass buddies. Scott Hall & Kevin Nash have debuted and are "invading" WCW shows and promising war, I imagine they will invade this show too.

Fire & Ice vs The Steiner's first, there must be a winner! These two teams have been in a mini feud, every match they've had has not had a clear winner so we have a blow-off match between these two sides. Both are faces, I think WCW wanted to give a Steiner-rub to the Norton & Ice Train. This was a really fun powerhouse match, it was exactly what was what we expected and wanted from these 4. A beefy hoss match (3). Konnan defends the US championship against El Gato, who was Pat Tanaka in a cat mask. This was a way to kill time for 5-6 minutes and it was fine. The action was okay but quite repetitive, as if Konnan ran out of moves to hit after about 2 minutes. A basic match but not bad (2). DDP takes on Marcus Bagwell. Weird seeing these two wrestle with DDP as the heel and Bagwell as the face. This was far better than I expected this to be, an entertaining back and forth with both men being competent in-ring. Bagwell was always better before he jacked up. DDP's Diamond Cutter was starting to really get over, and he was putting everyone down with it, Bagwell included (3).

Dean Malenko defends the cruiserweight championship against debuting Rey Mysterio. I've talked about these two wrestling already, this match was equally as good as the rematch they had. Dean Malenko dominated with his superior technical ability, but Rey was able to stay in the fight and wow with his amazing. refreshing offence. Amazing (4.25). Big Bubba vs John Tenta, mercifully a 5 minute big man fight that wasn't too great but a few good feats of strength (1). The Taskmaster vs Chris Benoit in a falls count anywhere match. The feud between the Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom transitioned into a feud between Kevin Sullivan & Brian Pillman, but the 'Loose Cannon' was work-shoot fired from WCW and he joined the WWF, so the feud inserted Benoit instead. This also felt like a work-shoot brawl around the arena, fighting up the stairs and into the toilets but those strikes looked LEGIT. Probably because of a certain real-life affair happening. This was a lot of fun (3.25).

Sting vs Steven Regal. This was a really good match that made Regal look impressive against a higher positioned wrestler. This was a usual Sting match for the time, kinda like a usual PG-era John Cena match. 10+ minutes of beatings but Sting fights back and wins at the end. This was good though, glad to see Regal get a big featured spot on PPV (3.5). Ric Flair & Arn Anderson take on debuting NFL stars Mongo McMichael & Kevin Greene. A good idea to have two wrestlers vs two non-wrestlers, meaning we will never have a clash between two inexperienced performers. This was a good match, a simple formula but both Mongo and Greene were impressive in their first match. Mongo turning heel and joining the nWo was huge at the time because he was such a big name in the US (3). Eric Bishoff calls out Hall & Nash for an interview, he knows they're here. The Outsiders confirm a big match is set for Bash at the Beach, before eventually attack Uncle Eric and powerbombing him through a table. An awesome segment to really put over this invasion angle. Our main event sees The Giant defend the WCW title against Lex Luger. Unfortunately, like most WCW main events, this was an underwhelming end to the show. It was your usual Giant match for WCW. Luger tries everything he can, but ultimately it's not enough (1.5) Meltzer calls this one of the best shows WCW ever produced, and he is right. A consistently fun show, but it falls the third best for having a lacklustre finale.

MOTN- Dean Malenko vs Rey Mysterio

#11: Fall Brawl, September 15th 1996. 54.4%

The 1996 silver medal is awarded to the best Fall Brawl show WCW ever put on. 2 months removed from the formation of the nWo, the big story going into this show was where did Sting's allegiances fall? The nWo claim that Sting is with them and we have even seen Sting help them out, though the legitimacy of the Sting's identity is questionable. A lot of the WCW believe that Sting has indeed joined the dark side. We're supposed to believe it too, but it's pretty obviously not Sting.

We begin with DDP vs Chavo Guerrero. A good showing from these two, Chavo is pretty green and has only been in WCW for 4 months. Competitive action with a great closing sequence, a kick-out from a gut-wrench powerbomb followed by the awesome Diamond Cutter (3.25). Fire & Ice continue to explode as former partners Scott Norton & Ice Train face off in a submission match. Technically and physically sound, rather competitive but it wasn't very exciting. They ran this feud for months and no one really benefited from the fall out (1.5). Recently heel Konnan defends the Mexican Heavyweight title against Juventud Guerrera. What is the Mexican Heavyweight title? I believe it is completely ficticious. WCW didn't have a Mexican title. Konnan was the AAA Heavyweight Champion but it was no longer recognised after Konnan left to for WCW. So Konnan carried around a deactivated championship and defended it as if it wasn't. Anyways, this is a rare good performance by Konnan who matches Guerrera's high-flying with power moves. Konnan helped Guerrera look like a star (3.25).

Chris Jericho makes his PPV debut against Chris Benoit. Exactly what you would expect from two very good workers, they would have better matches against each other in about 5 years time, but they put on the best match tonight. Jericho had to give his all to keep up with the more experienced Benoit, although he lost he looked great in defeat (3.75). Rey Mysterio defends the cruiserweight championship against Super Calo. Good cruiserweight action, unfortunately they really padded for time midway through and it slowed down, not a lot happened. The first and last 5 minutes were thrilling, Rey was on another level to most cruisers he came up against. We have ourselves a never before seen match between Harlem Heat & Nasty Boys! This was one of their better outings together. A basic tag formula that didn't overachieve or underwhelm. This was aight (2.75).

Recent nWo acquisition The Giant takes on 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. More of a storyline progression than a match, the black and white attack as well as Nick Patrick doing their best to screw Macho as much as they can. The little offence we saw was decent, but this was more about putting over the nWo as a formidable group of dirty bastards (1.75). It's time for our WarGames main event. The nWo team consists of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & a mystery man. Team WCW consists of Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson & a mystery man. Arn & Scott start us off, of course the heel team win the toss as usual so the nWo will have the man advantage. Control goes back and forth between the team until all confirmed members are in. The nWo's mystery man is "Sting", who comes out and helps the nWo dominate the match. The WCW final member is Sting! The real Sting! Sting goes on a tear wiping out the nWo. He is pissed of about WCWs lack of faith in him, so he leaves the match and team WCW are a man down. The NWO would go on to win. The match was fine, far from a classic but the story being told was the highlight. This would begin a legendary metamorphosis for Sting, who now wouldn't have a proper televised WCW match until Starrcade the following year (2.5). A consistently great card with little to complain about. Not just good wrestling, but great story progression.

MOTN- Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

#10: Starrcade, December 29th 1996. 54.4%

Closing out our triad of '96 shows, we have the flagship event of the year. I always think it's great when your biggest show is your best show. WWE should want Wrestlemania to be their best show every year, as should WCW with Starrcade. Following the debut of Roddy Piper, the big marquee match was set, Hogan vs Piper. The last time these two worked a televised singles feud together was the Wrestling Classic in 1985, 11 years prior. The star power was high, but my expectations were low. We have more nWO drama, more Horsemen drama and more cruiserweight classics.

10 titles up for grabs in our opening unification bout. Cruiserweight champion Dean Malenko takes on the J-Crown champion Ultimo Dragon. The J-crown was originally 8 unified championships first won by the Great Sasuke. When Ultimo Dragon won the J-crown, he was already the NWA Middleweight champion which he unified. A match of the night to start the show off strong. A 20 minute epic full of big aerial moves, technical mastery, last-minute kick outs and more. Ultimo would win the match, thus becoming the most decorated reigning champion in wrestling history (4.25). A women's championship tournament finals next, Akira Hokuto vs Madusa. Every participant in the tournament was Japanese except for Madusa, it even featured future NXT UK champion Meiko Satomura. This seemed like an obvious win for Madusa but surprisingly it was Hokuto who walked out victorious. Not bad, a clash of styles made this rough around the edges and it wasn't give much time to be much more (1.5). Jushin Thunder Liger vs Rey Mysterio next. This is a dream match for me personally, they teamed together in 2018 but this is the only match they had together. It was good, but I was expecting more. A lot of people enjoy this match but I felt it was missing something special. Both men worked well and pulled out your usual flashy moves. I wasn't feeling this as much as I wanted to (3.25).

Chris Benoit vs Jeff Jarrett, no disqualifications. This is part of the ongoing story of Jarrett wanting in the Horsemen. This was a good match, but the no DQ was only there to allow tomfoolery at the finish. Good wrestling, could have finished better (3). The Outsiders defend the WCW tag titles against the Faces of Fear. This was a pretty basic tag match but it was well worked and it got the crowd involved. Not much to complain about (2.25). Another championship tournament final next, DDP vs Eddie Guerrero with the US Championship on the line. Former champion Ric Flair got injured so he vacated the title. These two had a fun feud full of good matches and character work, I think both men were elevated because of it. The nWo cost DDP the match becuase he refused to join the group, which would add to Page's meteoric rise as a fan favourite (3). The Giant vs Lex Luger. Giant won WW3 the previous month so we're just killing time in between now and his title opportunity. This was a basic match like most of the Giant's matches. The crowd was so HOT for Luger though, and a Sting appearance popped the crowd too. Great crowd reactions for this but the match was basic at best. The story was about the nWo not helping the Giant as much which would lead to him being out of the group (2).

The show closes with Hulk Hogan vs Roddy Piper, no world championship on the line. This absolutely shattered my expectations, it was still basic but it was well worked and a consistent story. Piper had to fight all of the nWo and he managed to survive AND win clean as a whistle. Seeing Hogan pass out in a submission was a rarity, so it was refreshing to see him lose like this, even if he no sold it minutes later. Piper looked dominant and he got a huge win in his first WCW match (2.5). The nWo try to attack but Piper stands his ground. We see Hogan and the Giant stand-off as we expect to see them clash in the near future. It was bad, remember?

MOTN- Dean Malenko vs Ultimo Dragon

#9: Starrcade, December 26th 1988. 55%

Sticking with Starrcade, here we have the very best event under that name WCW ever produced. This is the first Starrcade after Ted Turner bought Jim Crockett and renamed the promotion, just prior to this show. The big feud between former allies Luger & Flair over the world championship. Luger left the Horsemen but was betrayed by friend Barry Windham who replaced him in the group. That's not the main event of the night though. For those lucky to be in attendance, the final match was a 17-man Bunkhouse battle royal for $50K, won by the Junkyard Dog. I wouldn't have stuck around. Leave early and catch public transport before the crowds flood out.

The Fantastics defend the US tag titles against Kevin Sullivan & Steve Williams. We're supposed to see the Sheepherders but they joined the WWF and became the Bushwackers. A good match, the Fantastics were - well - fantastic and worked well against the power game from the opponents (3). We have the Midnight Express (Eaton & Lane) led by Jim Cornette vs the 'Original' Midnight Express (Condrey & Rose) led by Paul E. Dangerously. This was a great feud as Paul brought in the OG members to terrorise Cornette and his allies. A classic tag formula, this was everything that Cornette loves from tag wrestling and fair to him, this was really good (3.5). The JYD & Ivan Koloff take on the Russian Assassins. The weakest part of the show but honeslty not that bad, just a bit dull. I expected worse from these guys so bravo, totally fine for 6 minutes (1.5).

Mike Rotunda defends the TV championship against Rick Steiner. Steiner recently turned face on the Varsity club and he is mega hot with the crowd. A good mix of technical wrestling and power offence, Steiner gets the win to a huge ovation (2.75). Barry Windham defends the US Championship against Bam Bam Bigelow. This was solid, but not as good as you would expect. I'm unsure if it's a lack of chemistry or if Windham put in a lazy effort. Both men tried to be monsters whilst Windham had to be a monster in peril which is hard to pull off. It ends in a count-out which is lame (2.5). The Road Warriors defend the world tag titles against Sting & Dusty Rhodes. Dusty's blade job when the Warriors turned on him prior to this would be the catalyst for him being pushed out of the company a few months after this. This was fine, standard stuff from these 4 legends which culminated with another lame finish, this time a DQ. The Roadies were so popular their heel turn wouldn't last too long (2).

Ric Flair vs Lex Luger main event. It's awesome. Some people would say this is their best match together. The match is excellent as is the storytelling. The first 10-15 minutes is like 95% Luger beating Flair's ass. After a missed clothesline Flair manages to take over and try to grind Luger down, doing your usual Ric Flair tactics "woo" and all. Luger manages to power back into the match though, no-selling offence like a BROTHER and powering back into control. Not even JJ Dillon interference can calm him down. He sets up the torture rack, but all of the work being done on his knee takes it's toll. His knee buckles, Flair gets a rope-assisted pinfall and retains. I really thought Luger would have won, but it wasn't meant to be just yet (4). A well built show full of a variety of good matches, topped off by another Flair classic.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Lex Luger

#8: Great American Bash, July 10th 1988. 56%

The best show from 1988 has a lot of 'firsts' and 'lasts' under it's name. This was the first ever Bash to be available on PPV. This was also the final NWA event produced by Jim Crockett Promotions and also the third and final NWA on PPV, JCP was bought by Big Ted in November and WCW was born. The show is main evented by the company's biggest face Luger against his biter rival Flair, 2 months removed from Barry Windham's betrayal and addition to the Horsemen.

Nikita Koloff & Sting attempt to take the NWA tag titles away from Horsemen members Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard. After failing to capture the world title from Flair, Sting slipped down the card but continued his rivalry with the 4 stallion dudes. A very good match that goes to a 20 minute time limit, but it isn't blatantly choreographed like we're used too. Sting & Nikita steal Horsemen tactics by isolating Tully, but JJ Dillon's involvement swings the tide. Sting comes back with a fiery comeback, but the faces cannot put away the champs before the clock expires. Good wrestling and the crowd were hot for this (3.5). The Fantastics defend their US tag championships against the Midnight Express. An awesome rivalry, they had banger matches on TV and also Clash 1, but this one is my personal favourite. This is similar to the last matches, but a different spin for 2 reasons. A) this time the Midnights are chasing the gold and b) if the Fantastics win they get to lash Jim Cornette 10 times. Jimmy C is also suspended in a cage above the ring. Another display of tag team excellence with hilarious antics from Cornette that added entertainment but didn't detract from the match (4).

We have a Tower of Doom match next, a three tier cage match you might remember from such classics as the Doomsday Cage match, Ready to Rumble and when Vince Russo won the world championship. LOL. The rules here are both teams are in the top cage, the first team who make it to the bottom and escape win. Easier and less convoluted than the other matches in all honesty. Jimmy Garvin, Ron Garvin, Steve Williams & the Road Warriors take on Kevin Sullivan, Al Perez, Russian Assassin, Ivan Koloff & Mike Rotunda. I struggle to call this good, not much wrestling goes on and it's primarily punching, kicking and climbing. However, this actually was a bit of fun. It went far too long for sure, but the final rush to the exit was exciting and complimented the story well. After losing, Sullivan locks himself with Jimmy's valet Precious and attacks her for great heat. The crowd digged this a lot. It's pretty bad, but I'll give it a star for creativity and being a bit of fun (1). Barry Windham defends the US championship against Dusty Rhodes. This would be Dusty's last major NWA feud, leaving for WWF soon then returning to WCW afterwards. He is 43 and out of shape so his in-ring ability is limited, but they still put on an entertaining match. Windham had his working boots on, bumping like a pro. Good psychology as Windham was setting up the claw, Rhodes seemed on the verge of victory until the interference of Ron Garvin for a shocking heel turn on Dusty (2.75).

We close with Ric Flair vs Lex Luger, NWA title on the line. This is a 20+ minute epic that follows a usual Flair match formula, admittedly it's a successful formula. Luger starts as the unstoppable powerhouse but eventually Flair takes advantage and works Luger down. Luger hulks up and no sells offence as he powers back into the match with big lariats. He is sent into the ring post twice, once by Flair and once by JJ Dillon which causes him to bleed profusely. He powers through the, a huge powerslam and the torture rack sets Luger up for a victory, but the State Athletic Commissioner has other plans. He declares the match must be stopped due to excessive blood loss and hands Flair the title. Such a bullshit screw job finish, one of the earliest in WCW's history. This gained a lot of traction for being the standard for WCW's batshit stupid, screw job booking that we would continue to see for the next 13 years. A really good match, a really bad finish (3). We're in the top 10 and yet we still cannot avoid WCW's terrible booking. If that ain't indicative, I don't know what is.

MOTN- Midnight Express vs The Fantastics

#7: Chi-Town Rumble, February 20th 1989. 57.1%

Out of all of the shows we have talked about across these 8 articles, this is my personal favourite show WCW ever produced. We have the beginning of the 5 star trilogy between Flair & Steamboat, we have well built tag team feuds around the gold, we have Luger & Windham continuing their feuds. Even the undercard satisfies. A digestible 7 match card with a BANGER of a main event.

The show begins with Michael Hayes vs the Russian Assassin. I was expecting this to suck, but I was pleasantly mistaken. Not the cleanest of matches but a competitive match with Hayes being wildly popular with the Chicago crowd (2.5). What I didn't expect to suck was the next match, Sting vs Butch Reed. the action was well worked but it was a dragged out 20 minute affair with far too many rest holds (1.5). A 'Loser Leaves NWA' 6-man match next between the Midnight Express & Jim Cornette vs Paul E. Dangerously & the Original Midnight Express. Funnily, the OG ME is not exactly what they say they are. Dennis Condrey already quit due to issues with new booker George Scott, so Jack Victory fills in for the New Original Midnight Express. Victory in his second match tonight after portraying the Russian Assassin earlier. This was a good match to blow off the feud. The wrestling from Cornette & Dangerously obviously isn't great, but Paul's heel work was great and Cornette was a king at crowd work. Eaton, Lane & Cornette get to stay, proving they are the superior iteration of the Midnight Express (3.25).

Rick Steiner defends the TV championship against Mike Rotunda, former allies now enemies as Rick went mega babyface. A decent match up but not that exciting. Rotunda won with that 'Falling back whilst in a sleeper hold into a pinfall' finish, which I think made Rick look foolish more than it made Mike look talented (2.25). Barry Windham defends the US title against Lex Luger. Barry turned heel and joined the Horsemen 10 months prior, so you could say that this blow off is well overdue. This was another solid match, it followed a basic formula but it was elevated by Windham's superior selling ability. He legit bladed his own hand after whacking the ring post, I've never seen that before. This match ended with a 'both shoulders down but one man just gets their shoulders up before the 3' finish, which is fine but immediately following a match with a dodgy pinfall finish it feels less effective (2.5). The Road Warriors defend their NWA tag titles against the Varsity Club, repped by Steve Williams and Kevin Sullivan. For a Road Warriors match, this is great. For a tag match, it's pretty good. A lot of power moves, you could argue this was rushed but I thought it was fun, the longer a Roadie match goes the worse it usually gets so this was enjoyable (3).

Main event time, you know the score. Flair, Steamboat, the world title. It's an epic. Steamboat returned to WCW in January and got a pinfall over Flair in a tag match, thus demanding an opportunity at the big gold. This was an absolute classic competition of wrestling and psychology. Flair tried to pull all of his usual tricks, but Steamboat had them scouted. On the flip, Flair was able to find opportunity to cheat and regain control. Both men were unrelenting, wearing each other down and battling for control. So many near falls. It looks like Flair has the match in the bag with his figure four but Ricky pulls him into a small package for the huge win, his first and only world championship. I've spoken to a few people who think this is the best Flair vs Steamboat match they've watched. That is completely fair, this was amazing. Their first rematch is my personal choice for the best but all of their matches are amazing, even their 4th encounter in 1994 which isn't their best but still is a phenomenal display of wrestling brilliance. These two were special talents that are hard to be replicated (5).

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat

#6: Wrestlewar, February 24th 1991. 57.5%

The best show from 1991 was praised by Meltzer as the best live show he had seen since the next entry in this list. He also praised the WarGames as being one of the best he has ever seen, which is true. Following the grand reveal of the Black Scorpion, Sting resumed his feud with Flair and the Horsemen, recruiting some fellow babyfaces to take down the iconic stable. This show also features the first ever WCW match for Eddie Guerrero, he competed in a dark tag match teaming with Ultraman (famously known as Damian 666) to defeat Huichol & Rudy Boy.

We kick off the show with 6-man tag action. Junkyard Dog, Tommy Rich & Ricky Morton defending the WCW 6-man titles against Big Cat & the State Patrol. The championships were considered a revival of the NWA 6-man titles, Dog, Rich & Morton were the inaugural champions. The titles wouldn't even survive till 1992 before being deactivated. Morton & Rich would be the final champions alongside Terrence Taylor as a part of the York Foundation. This match was perfectly average and quite forgettable (2.5). Next, Bobby Eaton vs Brad Armstrong. This seemed like a filler match with little backstory but these worked a pretty good match. Eaton was on his own after the rest of the Midnight Express left, WCW were grooming him to be a singles star so he gets the win here. A solid technical bout (3.25). Women's tag action next. Itsuki Yamazaki & Mami Kitamura vs Miki Handa & Miss A. Yamazaki was one half of the famous Jumping Bomb Angels. Miss A is more commonly known as Dynamite Kansai, a decorated champion. This was a treat to watch. The Japanese women who came to compete for WCW more often than not tore the house down. This doesn't go very long so I can't rate it too highly, but this was an energetic match with plenty going on at a good pace (3.75).

Dustin Rhodes takes on Buddy Landel. This match felt like filler, predominantly rest holds until Dustin gets the W with a bulldog (2). More filler follows when we see the Young Pistols vs the Royal Family. A standard tag match, it was well worked but lacked excitement and crowd investment (2). A no disqualification match next, Terry Taylor vs Z-Man, aka Tom Zenk. This was weak. For a no DQ match nothing happened, Taylor used the eye poke and a few dirty tactics but nothing that would warrant a disqualification. After 10 minutes of constant heel work, Taylor scores a roll up win. Uninspiring (1.5). Vader vs Stan Hansen next, unfortunately this ends in a DQ before it reaches potential heights but what we got was still very enjoyable. A stiff clash of beefy men, not on par with their Japan classics but still a good watch (3). Lex Luger defends the US championship against Dan Spivey. Well fuck me this exceeded expectations didn't it? One of Luger's better matches, and probably Spivey's best. This was two powerhouses throwing their biggest moves at each other, with both men refusing to stay down. Luger manages to roll through from a slam to sneak a pinfall past his worthy adversary (3.75).

The penultimate match of the eve sees Doom defend their WCW tag titles against the Fab Freebirds. The match is mid with some booking confusion as to who are the heels here. The Freebirds win but the most interesting thing about this match is what happened beforehand. 11 days prior, the Freebirds dropped the WCW tag titles to the Steiners at a TV taping, before they won them here on PPV. That makes the title reign of the Freebirds -11 days, I believe the only time a title reign has been negative days long. Of course, the lineage would be based off the taping date instead, but don't buy into the conspiracy sheeple (2.25). We end with WarGames. The Four Horsemen are represented by Flair, Tully, Sid Vicious & Larry Zbyzsko (Larry is an honorary member subbing in for the injured Arn Anderson. The take on Sting, Brian Pillman & the Steiner bros. This is a near perfect match with a sucky ending, damn you WCW! All of the faces have their own personal issues with the Horsemen. Pillman rushes in to start the match against Windham even though he's taped up and hurt. Pillman is the MVP of this match, from bell to bell he is the best performer, from his wrestling to his selling. Of course, the heels win the coin toss so they will always have the advantage until the final man comes in. Everyone takes turns coming in and kicking ass which is great! Once everyone's in, all but Sid & Pillman are in one ring, so the psycho one tries a big powerbomb. The trouble is, Sid doesn't take into account the height of ceiling, which catches Brian's feet and he is plonked dead on his head. Fuuuuck. Then Sid does it again! Leave the man alone! The match is a violent piece of art, until everyone's least favourite ex-basketballer El Gigante comes out and begs the match to be stopped to save Pillman, so the ref calls it. What a lame finish that totally defeats the point of the match. We just gonna listen to any goof who runs down and wants the match stopped now? Amazing performance, anticlimactic finish. There's a sex joke there somewhere (4.75). Honestly this probably would be the best WarGames match ever without the ending. A shame really. This show has a mini lull in the middle but either side of that is some great action.

MOTN- WarGames

#5: Great American Bash, July 23rd 1989. 58.9%

The last time we will be talking about WCW from the 80s, and the last time we will talk about the Great American Bash. This is a landmark show, often hailed as WCW's best ever PPV event and the argument for that is completely valid. There are probably some who dislike it being as low as 5th on the list, but that's how the percentages fall. This shortly follows the epic rivalry between Flair and Steamboat, with Terry Funk now challenging the Nature Boy for the world title. The fifth and best GAB show was tagged 'Glory Days' which is rather fitting for such an esteemed show during WCW's best time periods.

We begin with a 'King of the Hill' Battle Royal. 2 rings, everyone starts in the first ring but if you're eliminated you enter ring 2 for a second battle royal. The last man standing in ring 1 and 2 then face off to be the final winner. The winner earns 50 G's. For a battle royal it's pretty enjoyable, I quite enjoy the format. A weak finish though, the final 2 end up being the Skyscrapers who just decided to split the money and they leave. That, is not how rules work but whatever. I'm done preaching to WCW about following their own rules (2). Brian Pillman vs Bill Irwin next. This was a solid match to put over the upcomer Pillman, he really impressed especially with his crossbody finish. Well worked (2.5). $50K richer the Skyscrapers face the Dynamic Dudes. Sid was mega over here as he weirdly always has been. A sloppy match that got too much time, the Dudes got some offence in but this was mostly a squash (1.5). Jim Cornette vs Paul E. Dangerously in a tuxedo match, you win by stripping your opponent. This is a match I assumed was doomed for failure, but I underestimated two of wrestlings greatest minds. This had good psychology with Paul targeting Cornette's injured knee that he damaged years prior in a scaffold match. Insane. This was not a comedy match, this was a smartly worked fight between two bitter rivals with large amounts of crowd investment and a satisfying finish. Better than anyone expected (2).

Texas Tornado tag next between the Steiners and Varsity Club. This is Scott's PPV debut and the first televised match for the Steiners. This doesn't even touch 5 minutes, but it's a wild brawl between two rival teams. Scott showed his potential here. Plenty of fighting going on, to hard to follow but damn it was exciting (2.75). Sting defends the TV championship the Great Muta. Arguably the biggest rising Star in the US vs the biggest rising star in Japan. This is another match shorter than expected which is a shame, but what we get is great. A great competition of wrestling and high-flying, with an impressive non-finish. Both men's shoulders are down but Sting just gets his up before the 3 to win. However, a replay shows Muta did the same! I mean, they should have really just restarted the match because no one won or lost but oh well (3.5). Lex Luger defends the US title against Ricky Steamboat. Originally scheduled for no DQ but Luger threatened to walk, so Steamboat agreed to waive off the stipulation. Luger is loathed by then fans here as he tries to tear apart Ricky, but the Dragon lights up Luger with his chops. This is an awesome match between two of the best on the roster. The finsih ends with a DQ as Steamboat cannot control his rage and hits Luger with a chair. It makes sense, but it was a bit lame to me especially with this being the third screwy finish to a match tonight. Next time, maybe don't remove the stipulation Ricky, it's for your benefit (3.75).

Our penultimate match is WARGAME!!! The Road Warriors, the Midnight Express & Steve Williams take on the Fabulous Freebirds (Hayes, Garvin & Gordy) and the Samoan Swat Team. This is your standard WarGames match. It lacked that 'big fight feel' that most of these matches have, and also it lacked the usual strategy you'd see from the teams trying to win. However, this was still a 20 minute war inside of the 2-ring cage it was great to watch as always. Everyone puts in a good showing but by far Bobby Eaton was the star of the match, wrestling from start to finish and really selling the viciousness brilliantly. Of course the Roadies win for their team (4). We close the show with Flair vs Funk. Funk hit Flair with a piledriver through a table following his win over Steamboat, breaking his neck and putting his career in jeopardy. This is the supposed blow-off, however we all know that won't be the case. This was another classic of a main event. The hatred between them both was so visibly in how they worked. Funk going after the injured neck and also being unpredictably violent added so much to the match. We call back to the attack as Flair eats a piledriver through a table but he survives. Flair eventually whacks him with a branding iron! A figure four attempt is reversed into a cradle, but Flair reverses a pin with a pin to win (4.5). Muta comes to help Funk and even sprays the mist in Flair, Sting comes to help and we have a wild brawl to end the show. Hot dang, what a show it was.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Terry Funk

#4: Spring Stampede, April 17th 1994. 59.4%

The 'sorry you missed out on a podium position' medal goes to the best Spring Stampede event of all time. 1994 is regarded mostly as a bad year for WCW. Although they acquired Hogan and made bare coin from that investment, the overall quality of their shows, matches and stories plummeted after his arrival. That's a real shame considering the quality of wrestling we saw at the end of 1993 and the start of 1994. This show and the next were excellent cards from this year, both with exciting hardcore tag matches and a captivating main event.

The show begins with Johnny B. Badd vs DDP. They only get 5 minutes to work, they do some decent stuff but it's far from both guys best work (1.5). Steven Regal defends the TV title against Brian Pillman. A usual 15-minute time limit match with Regagl, the work was pretty good. For once, WCW actually timed the match accurately instead of just bullshitting their way through. I give them credit, unfortunately because of this the finish was botched and awkward. Pillman scrambled to the finish, but the timing was off so when he was mid-suplex the time experied, ruining their attempted photo finish when Pillman goes for the pin. A shame, but the action we got beforehand was entertaining (2.5). The Nasty Boys defend the WCW tag titles against Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne in a Chicago Street Fight. I don't want to throw out unwarranted disses, but I don't feel wrong saying Payne was a largely underwhelming wrestler. A lot of his matches are not well reviewed or received by fans or critics. However, on this one night, he was with the right group of crazy bastards in the right match type. This match is reminiscent of the Horsemen vs Doom match we have covered, less than 10 minutes but plenty of fighting going on. This was awesome. They really sold the hatred between each other by trying to murder each other for 9 minutes. Chairs, pipes, tables, even a shovel. Anything they have available to them, they used. This was violent and bloodthirsty, I loved it (4).

Steve Austin defends the US title against the Great Muta. This was decent work, but I don't think they had the best chemistry together. There was a lot of filler holds, with zero pay off as it ended in a classy OTT rope DQ. Not bad, but disappointing (2.25). Rick Rude defends the International Championship against Sting. This feud has been going since the start of the year and Rude has been ducking and diving his way out of a clean match with Sting. Similar to the match prior, this was a lot of filler as Rick Rude had plenty of boring matches in the later stages of his career. Sting had a fiery comeback but the finish was ridiculously contrived. Insane amount of interference with a hilariously long ref bump, but it looked like he was playing dead whilst watching all of the cheating. Once Sting had a pinfall the ref had a miraculous recovery to count the pin. Solidly worked but pretty lame (2). Dustin Rhodes vs Bunkhouse Buck in a Bunkhouse match. Do not be tricked young padawan, Buck did not create the Bunkhouse match, this was a no DQ match popularised by Dustin's daddy Dusty. This far exceeded my expectations, this is easily Buck's best match in his career. This was the beginning of a rivalry which would end in the hilariously bad King of the Road match at Uncensored '95. Rhodes was good at selling the beat down, he came back with good fire but Buck cheap shots him with brass knucks to win (3.5).

Vader vs The Boss, aka Big Bossman. Poor Ray Traylor just ran through gimmicks during his time in WCW. Nothing really worked out for him and he always seemed to be a few steps away from a solid mid-card championship run. This is his best match for WCW in my opinion, this was a very entertaining meat slapper between two hosses. Surprisingly competitive, but no doubt Vader was winning (3.5). We close the show with Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat, their first singles encounter in 5 years since their epic 5 star PPV trilogy. Both men are seasoned veterans and whilst they may not be at their peak anymore, they're still fucking phenomenal wrestlers. Unlike those matches, this is a face vs face encounter solely based around Flair wanting to have an epic title match and he chose his friend to do this. They both absolutely succeeded. A 30 minute epic with great wrestling psychology, building intensity as time went on. We had some callbacks to their previous encounters, like a near fall when Steamboat reversed a cradle into his own (how he won the title) and the finish which ended with both men's shoulders being pinned for a 3 (similar to a finish to Flair vs Steamboat II). An awesome showcase which set up another awesome rematch 2 weeks later (4.5). Some great matches here, from those we expected from but also from some unexpected workers too.

MOTN- Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat

#3: Slamboree, May 22nd 1994. 60%

Only 3 shows crossed the threshold of 60%, when we review some historic WWE shows you'll understand how bad that is.

MOTN- Nasty Boys vs Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan

Slamboree 94 -best 94 PPV

Austin/Badd 2.5

Funk/Blanchard 3

Regal/Zbyzsko 2

Rhodes/Buck 2.5

Flair/Windham 2.5

Nastys/Cactus-Sullivan 4.75

Sting/Vader 3.75

21/35 = 60%

#2: Beach Blast, June 20th 1992. 61.4%

Technically this is WCW's best show, it's their best solo-produced show.

MOTN- Sting vs Cactus Jack

Beach Blast 92 -best 92 PPV

Pillman/Flamingo 3.5

Taylor/Simmons 2.5

Bagwell/Valentine 2

Sting/Cactus 4

Steamboat/Rude 3.5

Windham-Rhodes-Koloff/Dangerous Alliance 2.75

Gordy-Williams/Steiners 3.25

21.5/35 = 61.4%

#1: WCW x New Japan SuperShow 3, January 4th 1993. 61.5%

Is it not hilariously ironic that WCW's best show they were a part of, is a show where their participation was limited. Only 4 of the 10 matches feature WCW wrestlers,

MOTN- Riki Choshu vs Genichiro Tenryu

WCW/NJPW Supershow 3 -best 93 PPV

(411mania order)

Iizuka-Nogami-Samurai/Hirai-Orihara-Kitahara 3

Saito-Hashimoto/Rhodes-Norton 2.25

Sting/Hase 3

Fujinama/Ishikawa 3.25

Chono/Muta 3.5

Koshinaka-Kabuki-Aoyogi-Saito/Saito-Goto-SSM-Honaga 3.25

Simmons/Halme 1.25

Dragon/Liger 3.75

HellRaisers/Steiners 3.5

Tenryu/Choshu 4

30.75/50 = 61.5%


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