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WCW WrestleWar 1991
by Scrooge McSuck
- Originally broadcasted live on Pay-Per-View on February 24th, 1991 from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ. Jim Ross and a freshly returned Dusty Rhodes are calling all the action, unless otherwise noted. Remember when I mentioned how sad the arena at Halloween Havoc '90 looked, half lit in random places to hide empty seats? Well, they don't even bother here, herding as many people as possible to the hard-camera view, and any time we see the opposite part of the arena, it's a sad visual. Attendance is listed at just under 7,000, but I highly doubt it. Note: This is the Turner Video version, cutting out a random Womens Tag Match, Tom Zenk vs. Terry Taylor, and the Southern Boys vs. the Royal Family. Please don't be too disappointed.
Opening Match 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match:
Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich, Junkyard Dog © vs. The State Patrol & Big Cat:
Where the hell did these come from? The 6-Man Tag Titles have been inactive since the Road Warriors dumped Dusty Rhodes as their partner... in the Fall of 1988. Morton, Rich, and JYD apparently won the physically inactive belts in a match against the wonder team of Buddy Landell, Dutch Mantel, and Dr. X in the Omni. Their opposition here is nothing more than a JTTS tag team consisting of Lt. James Earl Wright and Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, and a pre-pushed Mr. Hughes. JYD (with a freshly shaved head) and Cat start. Weak slugfest won by JYD, followed by a clothesline. Wright grabs a headlock on Morton, but gets taken over with a pair of arm drags before Morton settles for working the arm. Rich and Morton with a double clothesline, and more arm work from Wildfire. Rich with a slam, arm drag, and back to the arm. Parker tags in and quickly misses an elbow, allowing Rich to work his arm, now. Morton with a reverse atomic drop to Parker and a regular version on Wright. JYD tags back in, snapmares Parker, and headbutts him across the ring. Big Cat tags in for our token test of strength. JYD sweeps the leg and connects with a headbut. Cat no-sells it and drops an elbow on JYD for a two count. Parker throws some rights, but JYD no-sells and tags out to Morton, who gets to play face-in-peril after a cheap shot from the apron. Wright with a second rope headbutt for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and a double shoulder block gets two. Drop toehold and elbow for another two count. Whip to the ropes, and Big Cat with a dropkick for two. Cat with a slam, but he misses an elbow. Morton slugs it out with Parker, but runs into a powerslam. Battering ram and a bulldog from the State Patrol gets two. Emulating the Bushwhackers offense is NOT something that impresses me. Cat catches Morton off the ropes and connects with a back breaker for two. Morton takes a 3-on-1 beating, and Parker wisely follows up with a chinlock. Morton avoids a charge and makes the tag to JYD, who lays into both Parker and Wright with his usual stuff. Thump Powerslam to Parker, but Big Cat interrupts... and now Morton covers for the three count at 9:56. Um... how was that legal? Decent enough opener, but when you randomly pair people up in tag teams, it becomes obvious with a lack of fluidity among them. Still, Ricky Morton taking a beating is always entertaining.
Brad Armstrong vs. "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton:
Jim Ross makes note that a brother of Brad is fighting in Operation Desert Shield. We all know that to be Brian Armstrong, a.k.a the Road Dogg. Brad's ditched the Candyman nickname, as if it meant anything in terms of a push. Bobby's entrance music includes an unusual piped-in chant of "Bobby"... anyone know anything about that? Eaton attacks before the bell with rights. Criss-cross, and Armstrong with a head scissors, followed by a dropkick, arm drag, and settles into an armbar. Is that American flags on Armstrong's trunks and knee pads? Was he going to be "Mr. USA" Brad Armstrong? Eaton backs it to the corner and sucker punches Brad to let him know who's boss. Whip to the corner, and Armstrong with a monkey flip, then back to the armbar. Eaton dumps Armstrong to the floor, but ends up tasting the security rail and post for following Brad out. back inside, and Armstrong goes back to the arm. Shoving match after a break, and Eaton ducks between the ropes to tick Armstrong off even more. They lockup for a test-of-strength, with Eaton obviously taking advantage with a well-placed boot to the midsection. A few years back, and this would've been a kickass tag between the Midnights and Lightning Express. Armstrong escapes climbing over Eaton, takes him down with an arm drag, and goes to the armbar, once more. Eaton escapes and sends Armstrong to the buckle. Eaton goes for a slingshot suplex, but Armstrong counters off the ropes and takes Eaton over with one of his own. We spy Jason Hervey at ringside (he of the Wonder Years), as Eaton wipes Armstrong out with a lunging clothesline. That's only enough for a two count, though. Whip to the ropes, and Eaton catches Armstrong with a back breaker for another two count. Eaton with a scoop slam, followed by an elbow drop to the face for two. Eaton slaps on a chinlock as we confirmed the flags on Armstrong. Hey, the Great Muta, complete with face paint, is sitting at ringside, too. He's going to wrestle Sting at the WCW/Japan Supershow... but back to the match at hand. Armstrong with elbows to the midsection to break, but Eaton quickly responds with a knee lift, followed by a slingshot back breaker for a two count. Eaton quickly mounts Armstrong and slaps on a seated chinlock. Armstrong fights free again, but another elbow knocks Armstrong out of the ring. Eaton follows, and drops Armstrong across the security rail. Back inside, and Eaton with the abdominal stretch. Yes, he DOES use the ropes for extra leverage. I usually reserve that line for Mike Rotundo, but he's gone from the company, so it's free game. The referee forces the break, which gives Armstrong the fire to slug it out. Whip to the corner, and Eaton crotches himself on a charge to the corner. Whip to the ropes, and Armstrong with a dropkick, followed by a Russian leg sweep for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Eaton comes back out with a swinging neck breaker. Eaton heads to the top rope, and the leg drop finishes Armstrong off at 12:51. A little slow at times when Armstrong was in control, but a pretty good match worth checking out. If there was one thing I loved about WCW from this era (late 80's/early 90's) was the solid undercard without the need of over-the-top characters and gimmicks.
- Tony Schiavone is standing by with Missy Hyatt for her token appearance on PPV, offering to enter the men's locker room for an interview. I'm pretty sure this was inspired by an incident in the NFL, but the hell if I can remember or bother to research it.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Buddy Landel:
This would be Dustin's WCW PPV Debut, after jumping from the WWF with his daddy immediately after the Royal Rumble PPV. Landel is the lesser known "Nature Boy", who bounced around regional promotions after this stint, with a brief cup of coffee run in the WWF in 1995. Landel with trash talking and a slap. Rhodes responds with rights and a back body drop, followed by a pretty bad dropkick for a two count. Landel with a knee to the midsection and chops in the corner. Rhodes turns it around and mounts Landel for some elbows to the forhead. Whip to the corner, and Rhodes with a hip toss and lunging clothesline for a two count. Rhodes with an arm drag, then settles into an armbar. Landel with a slam, but a trip to the top goes against him, with Rhodes throwing him off. Must be a Nature Boy thing to be slammed off the top rope. "Landel Sucks" chant as we pan the dead crowd. Whip to the corner, and Dustin posts his shoulder on a charge. Landel drives a knee into the throat and covers for two. Landel pulls Rhodes down with a hair pull and works the arm. Yawn... Landel with a rake of the eyes and scoop slam for two. They blow a whip to the corner, but Landel covers it up decently enough with a sleeper hold. Dustin counters, but quickly meets the turnbuckle pad. Whip to the corner, and Landel meets the boot. Rhodes with a clothesline, and a second sends Landel over the top rope... No DQ? Back in the ring, and Rhodes with a press slam. Rhodes comes off the ropes with a bulldog, and that gets three at 6:34. No matter how short or long, an incredibly dull match just seems to go on forever. Rhodes would improve as the years go by, of course, but Landel has always bored me to tears.
- Missy Hyatt enters the mens locker room, and is immediately scared away by Stan Hansen, who has tobacco juice flowing out of his match. Hansen whacking away at her with his hat was pretty entertaining. That's hopefully the last of Missy we'll be seeing on this PPV.
Big Van Vader vs. Stan "The Lariat" Hansen:
This has slugfest written all over it. I'm not sure who's supposed to be the face here, but since it's Hansen, I guess it's Vader by default. This is Vader's first PPV appearance since crushing Tom Zenk like a bug at the last Great American Bash. I'm sure this won't be anything like their match in Japan, where Vader had his nose broken and eye knocked out of it's socket at the hands of Hansen. Jim Ross makes vague references to it, though. Hansen attacks before the bell, but Vader drags him over the ropes and pounds away on him on the ramp. Hansen with chops and a big clothesline, then throws Vader back in the ring. Vader nails Hansen with a stiff left clothesline, and mounts him for some headbutts and rights for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Vader follows in with an avalanche. Vader drops an elbow for two, then slaps on a chinlock. That doesn't last long, with the action spilling to the floor. I wouldn't say there's any shooting, but they are stiffing the fuck out of each other. Vader misses a charge, and Hansen brings him down with a back suplex for two. Hansen with a pair of elbows for another two count. Hansen grabs a box and nails Vader, and Vader responds with a chair. They lay into each other a few more times before returning to the ring. That doesn't last long, and Vader slams Hansen onto the security rail, then drops an elbow to add insult to injury. Hansen drags Vader back to the floor and rams him into the steps. Slugfest in the ring, and referee Randy Anderson gets thrown around before calling for a Double Disqualification at 6:18. Lame finish, but an entertaining brawl. I'm sure their contractual obligations to New Japan and All Japan probably had something to do with the non-finish, but that's speculation from me. They continue to brawl, with the bullrope coming into play.
WCW United States Championship Match:
"Total Package" Lex Luger © vs. "Dangerous" Dan Spivey:
I don't know if I'm looking forward to this one. Dan Spivey is giving scary eyes, because he's EVIL. Nikita Koloff is on hand, and is going to present the winner with a brand-new United States Championship belt. How nice of him. Lockup, and Luger with a clean break in the corner. Lockup, and Spivey offers some shots in the corner. Luger with a back drop and a pair of shoulder blocks. Spivey clubs Luger across the back, but Luger counters an atomic drop with a back suplex for a two count. Jim Ross claims Spivey played in the NFL for the New York Jets. Whip to the corner, and Luger meets Spivey coming in with a foot to the face. Luger with a series of roundhouse rights, knocking Spivey off his feet following a fourth. Whip to the ropes and Luger with a hip toss, but a cross body misses, and Luger spills into the second ring, which I never understood why it was illegal to wrestle in both rings. Spivey brings Luger back into the sanctioned ring with a suplex, and continues to put the boots to him. Spivey with a tombstone piledriver, but Luger kicks out at two. Spivey with a neck breaker for a two count. Whip to the ropes, boot to the midsection, and DDT for another two count. Luger mounts a mild comeback, but Spivey regains control and follows Luger into the corner with a clothesline for two. Whip across the ring, and Luger surprises Spivey with a roll up for a two count. Spivey puts the preasure on Luger again, and punts him across the back. Spivey sets for a suplex, but Luger counters with his own. Spivey is the first up, though, and plants Luger with a slam. Spivey to the top rope, and he comes twisting off with an elbow drop for a two count!
Spivey with a swinging neck breaker for two, and a modified head scissors keeps him grounded. Whip to the ropes, and Spivey with a big boot for two. Spivey with a piledriver for another two count. Luger hops up and starts no-selling roundhouse lefts from Spivey, and unloads with rights. Spivey kicks him low and brings Luger down with a belly-to-belly suplex for a two count. Spivey slaps on a chinlock, showinf off some scary eyes. It's a shame Waylon Mercy was such a short-lived gimmick in 1995... Anyway, back to the match: Luger struggles back to his feet and escapes with elbows to the midsection. Luger comes off the ropes, and Spivey brings him over with a Japanese arm drag. Whip to the ropes is reversed, and Spivey bowls through Luger with a shoulder tackle. Spivey bounces off again, but gets dropped across the top rope. Luger with rights and a second rope clothesline. Luger signals for the end, and catches Spivey off the ropes with a perfectly executed powerslam. Spivey uses the tights to throw Luger to the floor, but Luger is back in with a sunset flip. Spivey blocks and drives a fist into the forhead to counter. Whip to the ropes, and a double clothesline puts both men down. They slug it out from their knees, with Luger taking control. Whip to the ropes, and a head collision puts them down, again. Luger ends up on the apron, and slowly climbs to the top rope. Spivey greets him with a slam, but Luger rolls through with a pinning combination, and that gets the three count at 12:59. Well, I honestly thought this was going to be a stinker, but it won me over. Spivey brought a nice intensity, and Luger stepped up to the style he was working to put on an entertaining match. Luger's nickname should be "The Chameleon", based on his ability to have a good match (if he wants) by adapting to the style of his opponent.
- Grizzly Smith and Nikita Koloff (looking a little impatient) are there to present Luger with the NEW United States Championship. Koloff lays Luger out with it, and hey, guess what... IT'S INSTA-FEUD! I just remembered it was Nikita Koloff that Luger defeated for his first United States Championship, way back when he was still a member of the Horsemen. Koloff actually makes reference to this, as he strips off his clothes, showing off his freshly juiced body (or maybe he was dedicated in the gym, who knows...).
WCW World Tag Team Championship Match:
(Ron Simmons & Butch Reed vs. Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin)
Doom © (w/ Theodore R. Long) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Diamond Dallas Page):
Here's an interesting match for you, and a good example of the brain-dead morons running the promotion, but we'll get to that after the match. The Freebirds dumped Rocky King as their lackey and somehow introduced DDP as their manager in the mean time, but he's here to pawn them off on someone else: Big Daddy Dink, a.k.a Sir Oliver Humperdink, their new roadie. The live crowd doesn't care. There's trouble in the Doom camp, but I'm sure it won't effect the outcome of this match. We open with stalling and a "Freebirds Suck" chant. Lockup, and Simmons easily overpowers Hayes. Whip to the corners, and Simmons with a bearhug into a spinebuster for two. Hayes catches Simmons with a left jab and bulldog for a two count of his own. Whip to the ropes, and Simmons with a powerslam. Garvin comes off the top and powerslammed, as well. Reed and Garvin take their turn in. Whip to the corner, and Reed counters a hip toss with a clothesline. Garvin with a sunset flip for two, and it's back to a neutral stance. Reed catches Garvin off the ropes with a back breaker, and follows with an underhook suplex for a two count. Simmons tags in and drops a leg across the back, followed by a series of headbutt. Garvin manages to blow a spot of being thrown out of the ring. Reed greets him with a slam before tossing him back into the arms of Simmons. Reed tags in, and Garvin surprises him with a DDT. Who's the babyface here? Simmons cuts off a tag and nails Garvin with a spinebuster for two. Simmons with a powerslam for two. Chaos errupts, and Doom miscommunication sees Reed KO Simmons, allowing Garvin to cover for the three count and titles at 6:55. Afterwards, Reed beats the crap out of Simmons, because Reed is going to be the heel and Simmons the face for their eventual one-on-one blowoff. Not much of a match, but it was quick. As for the tidbit of interest, The Freebirds had already dropped their newly won titles to the Steiners at a TV Taping in Montgomery, AL... on February 18th. Let that sink in for a few minutes.
WarGames: Sting, Flyin' Brian Pillman, Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Sid Vicious, Larry Zbyszko (w/ Arn Anderson):
It's time for the match we've all been waiting for! Sadly, Arn Anderson is selling an injury, and thus is being replaced by Zbyszko here. Pillman's arm is bandaged up like you wouldn't believe, the result of a Horsemen beating he sustained earlier in the week on some fine WCW programming. Ric Flair is the reigning World Champion, having regained the title from Sting at the Meadowlands Arena on January 11th, and the Steiners are still rocking the US Tag Team Championship. With their traditional leadoff hitter injured, Windham starts for the Horsemen, and before the babyface team can decide, Pillman rushes in and comes off the ropes with a diving clothesline. Whip to the ropes, and Windham with a shoulder tackle. Pillman uses the roof for leverage and takes Windham over with a hurricanrana. Pillman with a missile dropkick from the second rope, followed by roundhouse rights. Pillman misses an obvious cross body spot, but goes low to keep the momentum on his side. Pillman gives Windham a taste of the cage, and he's already bleeding. Pillman gives Windham more tastes of the cage, then does the lettuce shred to the delight of all. Pillman with a jaw breaker, and he bites away at the cut, showing off a mouth covered in Windham's blood as a result. Pillman takes it to the corner, and takes another bite out of him. Must be the Texas flavor. Pillman with a hip toss and more mounted punches. Pillman sends Windham into the cage again, and comes off the top rope with a clothesline. Pillman with another headbuster, and he tosses Windham into the opposite ring. Pillman continues to put the boots to Windham, then starts to work on the knee. They slug it out, with Pillman in control. Pillman nails Windham from the second rope with a sledge as the coin toss takes place.
To the surprise of no one, the Horsemen win the toss, and Ric Flair enters next. They exchange slaps and chops, with Pillman still in control. Windham comes to to help, and they throw Pillman's injured shoulder into the cage. Windham damn near dead lifts Pillman off the ground, and rams him shoulder-first into the cage, again. Flair tosses Pillman into the Horsemen ring, and they continue to punish the shoulder. Sting comes in next, and he's greeted by the Nature Boy. Sting pounds away with rights, then goes for Windham. Whip to the corner, and Sting explodes out with a double clothesline. Flair rolls to the other ring, so Sting takes Windham out with a bulldog. Sting with a bulldog on Flair, while Windham crotches Pillman across the top rope. Pillman sweeps the legs of Windham and goes low in retaliation. Sting no-sells Flair's chops and pounds away with rights. Whip to the corner, and Sting follows in with the Stinger Splash. Pillman with the figure four on Windham, and in comes Larry Zbyszko. Sting greets him with a suicide dive over both top ropes. Zbyszko recovers, stomping away on Sting in the corner. Flair makes the save for Windham, and tosses Pillman into the cage. Rick Steiner is in next for the good guys, and wipes out Windham and Flair with a pair of Steinerlines. Steiner with mounted punches and a belly-to-belly suplex on Flair, and it's time for Flair to blade. LETTUCE SHRED! Windham sends Sting into the cage, while Rick Steiner continues to turn Flair's face into a horror movie. Sid Vicious is last in for the Horsemen, and he quickly goes after Steiner, throwing him into the cage. Flair goes low on him to add insult to injury. Pillman helps out, sending Flair into the cage. Vicious wipes out Sting with a clothesline, and yes, Sting has bladed, too. It's just a wild brawl right now. Sting sends Flair into the cage, and Flair responds with a low blow. Scott Steiner enters last, meaning it's time for...
The Match Beyond! Submit or Surrender to win at this point. Scott with a double clothesline to Flair and Windham, and a double underhook powerbomb on Zbyszko. Sid and Rick do it in the corner, and by it, I mean BLATANTLY CALLING SPOTS. Scott greets Sid with a top rope clothesline, and sends him into the cage. Sting with a Stinger Splash on Flair, and he slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock. Sid goes to work on the shoulder of Pillman, but Pillman won't stop fighting. The babyfaces regroup long enough to gain complete control of the match, and all four men have the figure four applied, two in each ring. the crowds loving that. Thumbs to the eye is all that saves them, though, as Rhodes claims that "the only way to get out is to get out." Sid goes back to work on Pillman, pounding the arm. Sting presses Flair into the roof before throwing him back down to the canvas. Rick and Sid have their mini-match again, with Sid coming out on top of the exchange. Pillman fights off a double team from Windham and Flair, and chews on some Nature Boy, now. Scott with a DDT on Windham, and Sid with a running boot to Scott. Somehow, everyone but Sid and Pillman end up in the same ring, and that spells trouble. Sid keeps calling spots on camera, and presses Pillman up into the roof, and lets him crash down. Sid with the powerbomb, but Pillman's feet hit the roof, and Sid drops him on his neck! Sid pulls him up, and does it again, but this time protects him enough to slam him down on his back. Pillman plays dead, and out comes El Gigante, who throws in the proverbial towel, giving the victory to the Horsemen at 21:50. I honestly don't believe the "it was imrpovised because Pillman really was hurt", since he was clearly alert after the first one, and was carefully slammed after the second. Just a good way to end it without making someone look bad, I guess. One of the best WarGames, and easily the best since the original. Just a non-stop, intense fight. Not much else to say, I don't think. I'm not a fan of the ending, but I couldn't see anyone giving up here without some shenanigans.
Final Thoughts: Thanks to this not being a "Starrcade" or "Great American Bash", time hasd over-looked how good this PPV is thanks to the secondary PPV name. Sure, this isn't the complete show, and I don't have an opinion on what was trimmed, but what is here is mostly solid action, with an outstanding main event, surprisingly good title match between Luger and Spivey, and the match-up's of Eaton/Armstrong, Vader/Hansen, and the opening tag all offered something different for everyone. The only fast forward material here is easily the Tag Titles and Rhodes/Landel, but both are kept short, and aren't THAT bad. Solid recommendation to track this down, it's worth a look. The WarGames match most obviously, and that's available on the Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon DVD (minus intros and stuff because of the WCW music license).
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