Friday, 30 July 2010

Running Out Of Catchy 1992 WCW Titles

Rick Rude v Dustin Rhodes (Worldwide, 5/30/92)

This match... I've watched this four times in the last 3 weeks and it's just about my favourite thing ever. I already spoke about one awesome Rude performance earlier today, but this was even better and is on par with the very best I've seen from that year. Don't want to sell Dustin short, because he's great in his role, but this is Rude working against a young fired up babyface and he's pretty much perfect at it. Starts out with Dustin frustrating Rude, backing him into the corner and taking his time breaking, Rude yelling "Get him back!", Dustin taking him to the mat with a hammerlock after Rude tries and fails to shake it. Dustin settles into working the back soon enough, and while there's a few moments where it seems like he's maybe struggling for ideas, Rude is always there to feed him. Dustin was already a Hell of a wrestler in 1992, but working at the kind of pace Rude loved to work at wasn't really his strong suit yet, so he seemed content to let Rude dictate some things, and if anything that's a sign of how good *Dustin* is as well. Rude's selling through all of this is superb. It's not the kind of thing I can really do justice to by talking about it; you kinda need to see for yourself how he'll react to being punched in the kidneys or thrown into the turnbuckles to really appreciate it. Transition to Rude in control is a good one. Dustin's been working a camel clutch for about a minute; he's comfortable, even jacking Rude's own gyrating hips taunt, and twice he's managed to shut down Rude's attempted escape by jumping and "butt bumping" down across his lower back. Third time Rude has it scouted, waits until Dustin jumps off his feet and turns around with the knees up, Dustin coming down hard and basically crotching himself. Right after this Rude hits an inverted atomic drop, and while I don't think that's ever actually been treated as a move that specifically targets the balls, you can see the intent of it here. Rude's selling continues to be six shades of awesome, trying his gyrating hips shtick and buckling over unable to do it because his back's totalled. There's this one spot where Dustin's in the corner throwing punches and a big bionic elbow, and Rude's sell is just... there are no words. Seriously. Dustin's a guy that's always great at teasing comebacks and firing back with hope spots, but Rude's cut offs are ridiculously good in this. Dustin going for a monkey flip in the corner and Rude shoving him half way across the ring, Dustin rolling so far back he winds up dazed back on his feet before being mowed down by a clothesline (Dustin taking the inside-out bump to boot) is a great spot, but Rude just dropping to his knees and driving a forearm into Dustin's nads is a fuggin' ACE cut off spot. Poor kid's balls can't catch a break. Final big transition keeps bringing the business with maybe the best struggle over a tombstone that I've ever seen. It's a spot I've seen a few times over the last couple weeks as I've been watching all this stuff, but when Dustin reverses this and plants Rude it feels like a HUGE moment, and the nearfall is as big as it should be. Last few minutes are all about Rude being on the ropes and Dustin inching closer and closer to scoring the upset. Even Medusa gets her licks in. I've seen some great cheapshots today, and Medusa roundhouse kicking Dustin in the chest after he goes flying over the top rope on an airball cross body attempt is up there with the best of them. And watch Rude set up the bulldog... "Where the fuck did he go?" This is a phenomenal match. These guys are phenomenal. 1992 WCW is PHENOMENAL, son.

Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v Jushin Liger & Kensuke Sasaki (Philadelphia, PA, 12/29/92)

I usually hate handhelds. The arena footage on the Mid-South set I actively *love*, but for whatever reason I can never seem to watch a handheld and come away from it thinking I wouldn't have enjoyed it more if it was on TV. I don't know why that is exactly, but there you go. This, however, proves to be an exception, because I've watched it twice now and I've had no problem thinking "Holy fuck this rules!" Both times. A big part of that is down to the fact that, with a handheld like this, you can see what Ricky Steamboat's doing at all times. Usually if you've got Steamboat in a southern tag that goes 20 minutes, ideally you want to see him playing face in peril. He's as good as anybody that's ever excelled in that role, and if you're like me, you could watch Steamboat sell a beatdown 'til the cows come home. One thing you never hear much of, though, is that he's an amazing apron worker as well. It's obviously not something you're going to see a whole lot of on TV anyway, since the focus is on the guys *in* the ring, not the guys around it (generally speaking, of course), but when a camera captures the entire ring area, you really get a sense of Steamboat going the extra mile to make people care about the match, even when he's not the one that really needs to be doing that. Don't read that as him being an egomaniac that wants the focus on him all the time, because I don't think someone would watch this and get the sense he is, but the general point is that Steamboat is fucking kingsized and is a huge benefit to a match just by being a part of it. You've probably guessed that Douglas is the one mostly playing FIP here, and while he isn't Ricky Steamboat, he's really good in the role. ECW Shane Douglas doesn't do anything for me 90% of the time, but underdog babyface Shane Douglas seems to be his calling as a wrestler. Steamboat does get his chance to take a whipping, though; briefly at the beginning and then briefly at the end after the numbers catch up to him post-hot tag. His first little "run" is like a lemon Warhead - short but mighty sweet. Sasaki wastes him with a spinebuster initially, and Steamboat's sell of the damage for the next few minutes is amazing. Best part is him leapfrogging Liger and selling the back the instant he lands, like the vibration shooting up his spine is immobilizing him, turning around into a Liger cross body. I really like Liger in this; he's super over and has a bunch of high end offence for the era, and best of all he isn't afraid to kick people in the face. There's a spot towards the end where Steamboat is collapsed against the ropes and Liger rails off 6 or 7 nasty kicks to his face and chest. The Philly crowd are in total "We Want Flair! WHOOOOOOO!" mode on the night, and the entire front row section facing Liger react like it was Flair himself throwing the kicks. Sasaki's good enough in his role as the more powerful and business-like of the two, sort of the steak to Liger's sizzle, but there's a few times where he'd randomly start working a different body part than the one that had been targeted for a period beforehand. They go to town on Douglas' leg for a stretch, and Liger even slaps on a figure four (crowd totally loves this), but then Sasaki, for whatever reason, decides he'll sit on a Boston Crab and start working the back. It's not like the match goes to shit because of him, but Liger seemed to be by far the better of the two here. And as hectic finishes go, this was as good as what had come before it. Great, great match, with the added bonus of seeing Steamboat ruling it like you don't get to see very often. Literally.

WCW 1992 Project

Can't Get Enough Of That 1992 WCW

Rick Rude v Brian Pillman (Main Event, 2/15/92)

Pretty excellent performance from Rude here. Pillman as the fired up babyface that isn't afraid to take risks is as good as always, but Rude had more or less perfected a hierarchy match formula in '92 (look at the Dustin match from Worldwide), and he carried this like a total pro. He starts out sort of toying with Pillman, offering a handshake, strutting around like he's expecting a walk in the park; imagine the shredded wide receiver in high school fucking with the captain of the debate club before he kicks his ass (or so he thinks, anyway). Rude has swagger and incredible tights. Pillman has a curly mullet and tiger panties. No sweat. He cranks on a side headlock at one point and there's a close up of him with a huge grin on his face; "I've got this in the bag." Then Pillman grabs a leg and just goes to town on it, wrapping it around the ring post, dropping elbows and stomps, and Rude, excuse the pun, wakes the fuck up and realises he's got a fight on his hand. Rude's selling all the way through is fantastic, always limping and showing damage, hitting a running Pillman with a knee to the gut and selling his own leg as much as Pillman is selling his ribs. He lets Pillman look great down the stretch, giving him a phantom pinfall and eating all of his offence like a trooper. There's a great moment where Rude tries to hit the Rude Awakening and Pillman just scrambles furiously to the ropes, practically jumping out of the ring to escape it. Finish is great too, with Pillman flying around once too often and getting caught with a nasty Stun Gun. Can't get away from the next Rude Awakening. My mind changes daily for who I'd pick as the best guy in WCW in 1992, but this is the kind of match that has me leaning towards Rude.

Sting, Nikita Koloff & The Steiner Brothers v Rick Rude, Vader, Jake Roberts & Super Invader (Clash of the Champions XX, 9/2/92)

I've seen this compared to the DX/Radicalz v Rock/Foley/2 Cool match from RAW quite a few times, and while I'd happily call this very good, there's no way I'd put it up there with the RAW tag. This is an elimination rules match, but it felt rushed on the whole to me. The Vader/Rick Steiner exchanges were tops, though. I wouldn't be interested in seeing a singles match between them (unless it goes 5 minutes or something), but they play off each other perfectly in tag matches. Vader's obviously a willing bumper; Rick has great suplexes; Rick tosses Vader around like he's a big beachball. What's not to love? In return, Rick is willing to eat the nastiest of Vader's strikes. I mentioned way back on here that nobody runs into a boot in the corner like Rick Steiner, and man alive does that guy have some weird fixation with being booted CLEAN full speed in the face; he really does not give a shit. Jake continues to bring the sleaze and I am loving it. Super Invader is Ray Fernandez aka Hercules Hernandez aka Hercules and he's started to get the distended abdomen after however many years of 'roiding himself silly. He's wearing a singlet here and it looks like someone's shoved a watermelon up it. He's also wearing what looks to be a pair of red tights over his face, sort of like Chainsaw Charlie, only you can see his little Hitler 'stache underneath. Thankfully he's eliminated pretty sharpish, because I won't lie, the idea of a watermelon smuggling, mustached 'roid head from Thailand or wherever the fuck they bill him from is awfully distracting. Rude also earns more points here for being kingsized. Plus he has a bitchin' moustache and he isn't hiding it behind a pair of head-pantyhose. And he's a cheapshotting fuck. I want more Rick Rude asap.

WCW 1992 Project


Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko v Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham (WCW Saturday Night, 2/15/92)

Fuck, some of the cheapshots in THIS. Ross on commentary is going on about how this is more of an excuse for guys to beat on each other than an actual match that's there to be won, and fuck do they seem like two teams that are happy as a pig in shit to beat on the other.

The first thing that happens in the whole match is Arn clocking Windham, who's on the apron minding his own business, with a total dickhead cheapshot. Steamboat's all "Alright, asshole, let's do THAT, then!" and sets about caving Arn's face in, so Zbyszko, who's fresh off sticking the boots to Barry on the floor, gets in and starts wailing away on him with Arn. And then he splits him in half with a fuckin' spinning roundhouse kick to the gut. "THIS is karate, bitch." His whole casual prick demeanour is glorious.

This segues into a short Steamboat in peril section, but I'm pretty sure Windham gets fed up at points and just comes in the ring anyway so he can punch someone in the teeth, and before long it's Larry working heel in peril, which I totally dig. He's all "OOHH" and "OOOF" and I watch this and wish someone these days would be as loud and "OOHH"ish when they're getting whooped as Zbyszko.

Arn tags in and assumes Larry's role for a minute or two, but that isn't cheapshotty enough so Larry decides to ramp it up again by unleashing the BEST fuckin' BEST running fist to the temple cheapshot ever on Windham, who hurls himself over the top rope just because. The camera shot is amazing, because you don't see it coming and then BLAM, Larry cracks him with a big ol' fist and you're leaning on rewind like a motherfucker.

Windham in peril is as good as Windham in peril always is. I had lost track of how many dirty cheapshots had been thrown by this point, but I can only assume Steamboat throws his hands up in disgust and waffles someone at random for the fuck of it. Post-hot tag has more bar fighting and I don't even care that Nick Patrick fucked up the finish because 8 guys eventually wind up in the ring and they're punching each other in the face and it's a blur of fists and faces and YOU know you love it.

I know I did.


Watched this last night and never got around to writing anything, so I'll do a double shot today.

Arn Anderson v Big Josh (WCW Saturday Night, 5/2/92)

This is another great 2/3 falls Double A match from 1992 WCW, although I'd put it a few pegs below the Windham match from a month later.

Starts out with Arn running through a pick-n-mix of shtick; he's befuddled, he's frustrated, he's worried - Josh is a big fuckin' lumberjack and Arn can't get anything going whatsoever. He slaps on a headlock, Josh picks him up and launches him across the ring. Arn's google-eyed and maybe even a little scared. Arn throws a punch, he winds up floored himself, backing into the corner because he wants no part of that shit. The first few minutes are all Arn and his shtick with Josh playing along perfectly. I loved it.

Match goes about 40 minutes, and I'm guessing the first fall is the shortest. Whether that's because it actually *was* the shortest, or just because it was so fun that it flew by, I'm not sure, but either way it's a really good "match" on its own, and as part of the bigger picture it's terrific. Josh spends the majority working Anderson's lower back, and Arn selling a body part is something I have no problem watching for 5 minutes or 45 minutes. Josh is perfectly fine on offence, but it's things like Arn hopping around on one leg as Josh has a hold of the other while selling the back at the same time that ultimately makes me fall in love with the guy every time out.

Second fall starts out essentially where the first left off, this time with a pissed off, albeit undeterred, Josh going right to work on the back again.

About 15 minutes in is where Arn finally transitions into offence, shifting from stooge to calculated hitman the second Josh misses a wild clothesline and wraps his shoulder around the ring post. Arn working a body part is just as great at Arn selling a body part, but I found myself drifting from time to time during the second fall, whereas the first fall had me hooked right off the bat. Josh is game to eat and sell plenty of Arn's stuff, though, so I guess I'll chock it up to being tired. Finish is a nice little payback for the first fall, and Heyman is close to stroking out. Post-fall is really nifty as well, the referee raising Josh's hand and Josh giving him a "Hey, man, my arm's hurtin' here. That ain't cool." look. I dig guys selling damage in between falls.

We're back to Arn mostly fighting from the bottom in the third, but Josh starts to blow up slightly down the stretch, and while that leads to some sloppiness, I actually kinda like how some of it comes across as two guys breaking the pain barrier and getting a little desperate. Arn's awesome as a punch drunk fighter on the ropes, throwing wild air punches and eventually falling flat on his face. There's one moment where he throws a HARD punch that I can only assume Josh is supposed to duck, except he doesn't lower his head quick enough and takes it right above the eye. Sounded like someone threw a steak off a wall. There's a half-messed up clothesline spot directly before the finish as well, but Arn's improv selling is wonderful, and make no mistake, this was a great third fall to cap off a great match.

Like I said, I'd take the Arn/Barry 2/3 falls over this, but I think this is better than the Windham/Austin 2/3 falls from 5/9. Top stuff.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Your Mother Loves 1992 WCW

Ricky Steamboat v Steve Austin (Main Event, 6/14/92)

I could watch a million of these ten minute Steamboat TV matches and be happy. This isn't as good as at least three of their other singles matches together in '92, but you can't really go wrong with these two getting ten minutes to do their thing. Steamboat controls early and I continue to love the little touches Austin's added to his bag of tricks from around this time, like shoving Steamboat into the corner out of a collar-and-elbow tie up a couple times with a smug look on his face, then trying it a third time and face planting himself on the canvas as Steamboat simply sidesteps it. Steamboat comes into this with his face taped up from a Dangerous Alliance mugging a ways back, so that means you get some typically great Steamboat selling as Austin goes to the face for cut-offs, punching him in the nose, raking his eyes, etc. Great moment where he fish hooks Steamboat's beak and just drags him all around the ring. Final few minutes make up the "both guys scrambling for the win" finishing stretch in these short time-limit matches, and this is all really solid stuff.

Barry Windham v Steve Austin (Worldwide, 6/14/92)

Still think this is their best match together. It's Austin's TV Title rematch and it's pretty terrific. Between this and the Austin/Rude v Barry/Dustin tag from the Bash a month later, Austin's shot right up there with Double A as my favourite guy selling Windham's knockout punch with the taped fist. As soon as this starts Barry chases him around the ringside area, and as Austin slides back in the ring, Barry's already there waiting for him, plastering him with a big right hand that Austin sells like a king. Windham controls the early stages of this by working the arm, and both guys are really good at working in and out of it, Austin looking for escapes and Barry looking for ways to keep the pressure on. When Austin gets on offence - following Barry's trademark kidney-crushing bump on the apron from a clothesline - he makes sure to sell the arm by hanging it at his side as if it's gone limp on him, constantly shaking it to get some feeling back into it, etc. Final few minutes are excellent and the finish is one of the best non-ref' bump belt shot finishes I've ever seen. There's one more match between the two that I'm yet to see, but so far this is only behind the Steamboat match from the September Clash event as my pick for Austin's best singles match of the year.

Rick Rude & Steve Austin v Z-Man & Marcus Bagwell (Clash XIX, 6/16/92)

When I saw this as a kid I thought it was like the best thing ever; Austin and Rude just murdering fools. I never got to see much WCW growing up, but I managed to catch this a couple years after it happened and seeing Rude maul a couple pretty boys like this was nothing like I had remembered seeing from him in the WWF (he was the poser being mauled by crazy Hellwig). 15 years later I still have a huge soft spot for it, and to this day it's one of my favourite competitive squashes. Austin ruling it again here; so animated, like a much less maniacal version of the Stone Cold character he'd become. Rude's the cockiest motherfucker on the planet and that pinfall at the end is glorious. Bagwell and Zenk are perfectly fine as a couple of good looking house o' fire babyfaces, but they're in way over their head and this is the Austin and Rude show.

WCW 1992 Project

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The 1992 WCW Train

Jushin Liger & Brian Pillman v Chris Benoit & Beef Wellington (Clash of the Champions XIX, 6/16/92)

More of a really good spot exhibition of the era than something I'd call a great match or whatever, but there's also a neat little story of Benoit and Wellington being all business like and trying to keep the two high-fliers grounded, even if it never really develops like I was hoping. Some impressive stuff in this, though. Liger hitting an Asai moonsault has to be one of the first to find its way to the States, right? Crowd totally lose their shit for it, as does Jesse on commentary. I actually liked how Liger and Pillman seemed to come across as two guys that were actively forcing their opponents out to the floor so they could hit all this dangerous offence, not because it looks snazzy, but because that's where it hurts most. Still, my favourite parts were when Pillman and Benoit would turn loose and just start chopping each other to shit. We all know Benoit wasn't afraid to lay it in, but Pillman was a stiff little bastard when he wanted to be too. Benoit also takes a hideous backdrop suplex off the top in this. Wellington didn't look very good, but he boots a jumping bean in the face at one point and his stringy hair and bald patch add a bit of ugliness to the pretty wrestling on show, so thumbs up to that.

Steve Williams & Terry Gordy v Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)

I pretty much loved this. Their match from Saturday Night a few months later is still much better, but I had never really thought all that much of this in the past. The crowd is dead as shit, and I do think Gordy and Williams control *too* much of it, but I didn't mind it as much this time around, perhaps because I can buy the Texicans being *so* wore down already from their previous two matches (where as Gordy and Williams only had one) that they're in an uphill struggle to begin with..? I dunno. Either way I was totally into it this time. I like how in a lot of these Gordy and Williams matches they'll transition into the FIP section by more or less continually waring the opponents down, cutting the ring off and keep tagging amongst themselves in their corner so the fresh man is always in there. Usually with southern tag formula there'll be one big spot that indicates the babyface is in trouble and it's time for the heels to take over. With Gordy and Williams, they just keep grinding you down over and over, and it's like a slow transition into a heat segment. Dustin's the one taking most of the beating in this, but he's one of the best ever in that role and always keeps it interesting. Also thought the finish was really cool, with Williams missing a big shoulder tackle in the corner and Dustin trying to capitalise with a bulldog, only for Williams to shove him off and Dustin runs right into Gordy, cracking skulls and leading to Williams take his head off with a lariat. I guess you could call this a disappointing final all things considered, but I'd probably call it my second favourite tag match of the show now. Top honours still go to the awesome Rude/Austin v Barry/Dustin match, but I was surprised at how much my stock in this has risen since the last time I saw it. Again, Great American Bash '92 was a Hell of a PPV, man.

Jake Roberts v Dustin Rhodes (Saturday Night, 9/26/92)

Oh man this was tremendous. It's about 15 minutes and the first seven are Dustin's, working the arm while Roberts tries and fails to shake him. Some great little touches that make what would otherwise be really simple stuff and put it over the top, like Roberts throwing big hooks that Dustin will duck and then retaliate by popping him with a punch of his own. Roberts is great selling the shots, checking to see if his teeth are intact. Also love how Jake sells the arm work. He'll roll out to the floor and use the bottom rope to stretch the arm and Dustin will grab him and drag him back in, going right to work again; he'll bite his fingers as if he's trying to shift the pain in his arm to another part of his body; he even tries to grab Damian after everything else fails. GREAT transition spot into Jake in control - he goes over Dustin with a leapfrog and appears to land badly on his knee, selling it like crazy. Dustin wants to keep the pressure on, but the ref' wants him back so he can check the leg, and that lets Jake get back up to his feet where he pops Dustin with an AWESOME cheapshot, like a hopping superman punch. Roberts is such a sleazy prick. I find myself watching Jake Roberts matches these days and constantly looking for instances of him doing something sleazy and dickish, he's pretty much the perfect scumbag heel. He tosses Dustin out to the floor at one point and starts doing squats with this shit eating grin on his face. He works Dustin's throat here and it rules. There's a great moment where Dustin starts firing back, so Jake jabs him right in the throat, floors him, and follows it up by STANDING on the throat. He's also good at selling the early arm work, grimacing and shaking the arm after cutting Dustin off with a clothesline. Finish rocks as well, as Dustin hits the bulldog and thinks he's got the three, but Jake's foot is on the ropes. Dustin switches off and you don't do that with such a slimeball because Jake's back up and wasting him with a DDT soon enough. I honestly can't see too many people liking this as much as I did, but fuck if I didn't love it.

Barry Windham & Ron Simmons v Jake Roberts & The Barbarian (Saturday Night, 9/26/92)

This is like an absurd dream match for me. Windham and Roberts are to of my favourites ever, and I mark hard for Simmons and Barbarian, even though I can't really explain why that is. This was originally supposed to be Butch Reed with Barb, but for whatever reason we've got Roberts taking his place. Some nice early powerhouse stuff with Simmons and Barbarian and the crowd go nuts for Simmons hammering him with a big clothesline. Unfortunately Barb isn't in the mood for selling much here, so there's some "indestructible monster" shtick that I wasn't really feeling, but we get some more Roberts arm work that plays off the Dustin match from earlier in the night, and Windham takes a nice stint in peril on top of that, so there's enough to like. Finish is woeful, though. Did Roberts and Windham have a decent-length singles match at any point? I know Roberts made a pit-stop in Florida around the time Barry was hitting a nice stride there in the early 80s, but even a 12 minute match in 1992 WCW would be something I'd be all over. Yeah, I need a Jake/Barry singles match.

WCW 1992 Project

That 1992 WCW Thang

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Rick Rude & Steve Austin (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)

Really, really dug this. Everybody's at least "very good" here, but I thought Austin was totally great and I found myself sitting up every time he got in. I watched this a few weeks ago and thought he was probably my favourite in it, but this time he definitely was. Countless Austin moments that I loved. Starts out with him and Windham, and Ventura's bitching about Windham's taped fist again and how there's no way he should still be allowed to have it like that. The thing I love about big Barry from this period is that he'll always throw at least one amazing punch per match with the taped fist, and the spot here where he just hauls off and drills Austin in the chops is pure greatness. Austin's sell of it is out of this world, total rewind like a motherfucker material. They settle back into some straight wrestling once Austin gathers himself, and Windham escapes an Austin headscissors, reels his taped hand back as if he's about to blast Steve again, and Austin's reaction is indescribable; he wants NO part of that shit. Not again. Then of course Windham blasts him anyway, this time with an open handed slap, just because he can. Windham's the one playing FIP in this, and we get a long, excellent heat segment out of it. Rude and Austin are awesome at cutting the ring off, always making sure they're keeping Windham in their corner, laying into him with some nasty looking stuff. There's one point where Barry's hopping on one leg trying to get to Dustin while Rude has a hold of his other leg, and Austin just dives off the top rope and knees him square in the face. There's also a super nasty looking double clothesline spot where Barry and Austin nuke each other's face. It's not the kind of double clothesline where they both hit the ropes and you can sorta tell it's coming; they're both making their way back up to their feet and just throw a big arm out, connecting at the same time and crumpling over on themselves in a heap of dead weight. More Austin ruling it when Windham makes the hot tag to Dustin, as Rude tags in Steve at the same time and Austin SPRINTS to the opposite corner in an attempt to stop Windham tagging, hurtling himself face first into the turnbuckle because of his momentum. He also takes maybe the best bionic elbow I've ever seen, hitting the ropes at a hundred miles an hour and running straight into it, throwing his head back like he's just been point-blanked by a Desert Eagle. I still think that in the grand scheme of things Austin was the weakest of the Dangerous Alliance guys throughout '92, but holy shit does he rule it and rule it hard here.

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)

When I first saw this about eight years ago I was stoked as Hell, because Windham and Hashimoto matching up was sort of like Bruce Springsteen and Andre 3000 having a joint concert or something. I'm yet to see a Boss/Three Stacks concert, but this is a good fucking wrestling match. Starts out with some really slick mat wrestling, and the Dustin/Hase exchanges are particularly swank. Maybe I'm just drawing a blank right now and something will come to me later, but I don't recall Dustin getting the kind of opportunities to work the mat like this any other time. He's clearly capable and willing, though, so it's something I'd like to have seen some more of. He's the FIP here and naturally it's good. There's a great moment where Hashimoto challenges him to a stand off, assuming his karate stance, and Dustin obliges by popping him with a trio of quick jabs to the face, which the crowd eat up big time. There isn't a whole lot of Windham in this, but I love him getting fed up with Hase and Hash double teaming Dustin, hitting the ring and lariating Hashimoto in the chin. Great American Bash '92 was a Hell of a PPV, man.

WCW 1992 Project

Friday, 23 July 2010

More 1992 WCW Ramblings

Steve Austin & Larry Zbyszko v Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham (Superbrawl, 2/29/92)

Superbrawl II has to be one of the best PPVs in history. I mean, it's only 5 matches long, but the quality of 4 of them are great and the main event works as a great feel-good moment even if the match isn't the best. This is the second match of the night, and following the Pillman/Liger opener was a tough task, but I think this is almost as good as it. Austin is a guy that I really do love as an overall package. He's not quite the total worker at this point, but in a tag environment or with an opponent that can lead him along, he's great. And here he's REALLY great. So animated, so intense. He barely does any moves other than a clothesline, but he does it with such vigour that you can't help but buy it as a real high impact strike. Of course, Dustin Rhodes sells it like a fiend, so that helps too. JR on commentary does a great job getting it over, too; harping on the fact that Dustin just cannot avoid the clothesline. Zbyszko is a guy that's really solid, but he has the ability to stall and use his heel charisma really well to put him over the top. He compliments Austin really well, and he's not afraid to bump and stooge for the babyfaces, either. Speaking of the babyfaces, both guys turn in a monstrous performance. They both play FIP for a stretch, and since both are great you can't go wrong with that at all. Can't really complain about any of this since it's really just an excellent match that uses the southern tag formula (which means you know I'll love it), but I guess I would've like the heels to go after Windham's injured hand some more. It was Zbyszko that took him out in October 1991, and Barry brings the hate as a receipt, but Barry playing FIP seems like a great opportunity to play off the history with the hand injury, especially given the fact they were still playing it as being injured at this point. Really, though, it's a fantastic match. I can't think of too many US tag matches better than it from the decade.

Rick Rude v Ricky Steamboat (WCW Superbrawl, 2/29/92)

Great match with a pretty cheap finish, but I'm never too hard on finishes provided they're not outright bad, so it didn't bother me too much. Both these guys were so great in '92, and I'm beginning to think Rude was the best in the company that year, which is a completely stacked year for them. His selling in this, and indeed the whole year, is really terrific, and while out-selling Ricky Steamboat is hardly the easiest thing to do, he does it here. It makes Steamboat's arm work look extra effective, and he also highlights it in some unique ways - clotheslining Steamboat with the bad arm before selling it big; doing the double bicep pose before having to drop the left arm because of the pain; being forced to use his right arm to clothesline, etc. Some interesting touches during this, including Steamboat using the figure-four as a sort of hope spot. It was set up nicely though, with Rude cranking on a side headlock, opening up his side and allowing Steamer to hit a knee-breaker before slapping on the figure-four itself. The sleeper hold exchange seemed a little odd in its placement, but that's really something that I couldn't call a "flaw". Not as good as their Ironman match, and in some ways it could be perceived as a test run for that, but really, you can't go wrong with these guys at this point. 1992 WCW is really something else.

Steve Austin v Barry Windham (Saturday Night, 5/9/92)

This is 2/3 falls and goes something like half an hour. It's really good, but I thought the second and third falls had way too much Austin in control. First fall is pretty give and take, but after that, other than a few punches and elbows with maybe a kick here and there, Windham literally gets NOTHING until he scores a roll-up for the win. I mean, I did like it a lot, but it just feels like they really could've had an awesome match had Windham been given more to work with on offence. I prefer their 6/14 match, so this is obviously out the window as my pick for their best singles match together, but I think there’s another match between them on Will’s Windham set that I’ve still to see, so I’m interested in how that turns out as well.

WCW 1992 Project

WCW 1992 Project

So I always find myself in spells where I'll be totally hooked on a certain period of wrestling, and all the stuff I want to watch will be from that specific period. Sometimes the same will happen with a particular wrestler.

WCW in 1992 is neck and neck with 1985 Mid-South as my all-time favourite year a wrestling company's had, and watching a bunch of matches from that period over the last week or so for the Double A of the Days has made me remember how much I love it. And I'm hooked again to boot.

I'm not really sure what the point of this project is in all honesty, nor am I sure how I'm going to go about doing it over time, but I guess right now my intent is to eventually have everything worthwhile from 1992 WCW watched and spoke about in this here blog thing, and for the fuck of it I'll try and rank it all as well. If a match is on the list and I've spoken about it somewhere here, I'll add a link.

I've already seen most of everything already, but some of it was either 2 years ago or 7 years ago and I'm pretty lucky if I can remember something from 3 weeks ago, so there'll be tonnes of re-watching and whatnot over time. Obviously a work in progress, so there's things like the Rude/Steamboat Ironman match from Beach Blast missing that most definitely will be added when it gets watched. Also don't be surprised if this takes about 12 years to finish and nothing gets updated for months on end since... well, see the first paragraph.

  1. Rick Rude v Ricky Steamboat (Beach Blast, 6/20/92)
  2. Wargames (Wrestlewar, 5/17/92)
  3. Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff v Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko (Saturday Night, 5/23/92)
  4. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v Barry Windham & Brian Pillman (Starrcade, 12/28/92)
  5. Arn Anderson, Rick Rude, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Sting, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes (Saturday Night, 2/22/92)
  6. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Steve Austin & Larry Zbyszko (Superbrawl, 2/29/92)
  7. The Steiner Brothers v Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (Clash XIX, 6/16/92)
  8. Vader v Sting (Starrcade, 12/28/92)
  9. Vader v Sting (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)
  10. Rick Rude v Dustin Rhodes (Worldwide, 5/30/92)
  11. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Steve Williams & Terry Gordy (Saturday Night, 10/3/92)
  12. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v Kensuke Sasaki & Jushin Liger (Philadelphia, PA House Show, 12/29/92)
  13. Arn Anderson v Barry Windham (Saturday Night, 6/6/92)
  14. Arn Anderson v Dustin Rhodes (Saturday Night, 1/4/92)
  15. Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat (Clash XX, 9/2/92)
  16. Sting v Cactus Jack (Beach Blast, 6/20/92)
  17. The Steiner Brothers v Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka (Wrestlewar, 5/17/92)
  18. Rick Rude & Steve Austin v Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)
  19. Rick Rude v Brian Pillman (Pro, 2/15/92)
  20. Vader v Ron Simmons (Main Event, 8/16/92)
  21. Vader v Dustin Rhodes (Saturday Night, 11/21/92)
  22. Jake Roberts v Dustin Rhodes (Saturday Night, 9/26/92)
  23. Arn Anderson v Big Josh (Saturday Night, 5/2/92)
  24. Ricky Steamboat v Brian Pillman (Halloween Havoc, 10/25/92)
  25. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (Clash XXI, 11/18/92)
  26. Ricky Steamboat v Rick Rude (Superbrawl, 2/29/92)
  27. Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham v Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko (Saturday Night, 2/15/92)
  28. The Steiner Brothers v Steve Williams & Terry Gordy (Beach Blast, 6/20/92)
  29. Sting & Ron Simmons v Rick Rude & Vader (Saturday Night, 12/5/92)
  30. Barry Windham v Steve Austin (Worldwide, 6/14/92)
  31. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Steve Williams & Steve Austin (Halloween Havoc, 10/25/92)
  32. Brian Pillman v Z-Man (Wrestlewar, 5/17/92)
  33. Arn Anderson, Rick Rude & Bobby Eaton v Sting & The Steiner Brothers (Worldwide, 10/3/92)
  34. Arn Anderson v Ricky Steamboat (Pro, 3/21/92)
  35. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Larry Zbyszko & Brian Pillman (Saturday Night, 8/8/92)
  36. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (Clash XIX, 6/16/92)
  37. Brian Pillman v Scotty Flamingo (Beach Blast, 6/20/92)
  38. Brian Pillman v Shane Douglas (Saturday Night, 10/17/92)
  39. Sting, Nikita Koloff & The Steiner Brothers v Rick Rude, Vader, Jake Roberts & Super Invader (Clash XX, 9/2/92)
  40. Steve Williams & Terry Gordy v Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)
  41. Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat (Saturday Night, 8/1/92)
  42. Nikita Koloff v Mr. Hughes (Saturday Night, 5/9/92)
  43. Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff v Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)
  44. Steve Austin v Brian Pillman (Worldwide, 7/4/92)
  45. Dustin Rhodes v Cactus Jack (Main Event, 9/6/92)
  46. Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Ron Simmons (Clash XVIII, 1/21/92)
  47. Brian Pillman v Jushin Liger (Superbrawl, 2/29/92)
  48. The Steiner Brothers v Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko (Saturday Night, 3/21/92)
  49. Arn Anderson v Brad Armstrong (Main Event, 4/12/92)
  50. Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko & Cactus Jack v Sting, Marcus Bagwell & The Steiner Brothers (Pro, 2/22/92)
  51. Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham v Greg Valentine & Dick Slater (Power Hour, 8/1/92)
  52. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v The Steiner Brothers (Saturday Night, 9/5/92)
  53. Sting v Vader (Power Hour, 2/15/92)
  54. Arn Anderson, Rick Rude & Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (Pro, 4/4/92)
  55. The Steiner Brothers v Vader & Mr. Hughes (Clash XVIII, 1/21/92)
  56. Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes & Ron Simmons (Worldwide, 1/11/92)
  57. Rick Rude v Erik Watts (Worldwide, 12/5/92)
  58. Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff v Steve Austin & Brian Pillman (Main Event, 11/8/92)
  59. Barry Windham v Steve Austin (Saturday Night, 5/9/92)
  60. Arn Anderson v Dustin Rhodes (Saturday Night, 1/25/92)
  61. Bobby Eaton v Dustin Rhodes (Power Hour, 5/8/92)
  62. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Dick Slater & Greg Valentine (Clash XX, 9/2/92)
  63. The Steiner Brothers v Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (Worldwide, 9/26/92)
  64. Jushin Liger & Brian Pillman v Chris Benoit & Beef Wellington (Clash XIX, 6/16/92)
  65. The Steiner Brothers & Sting v Vader, Cactus Jack & Mr. Hughes (Main Event, 2/9/92)
  66. Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Brian Pillman, Z-Man & Marcus Bagwell (Saturday Night, 3/7/92)
  67. Ricky Steamboat v Steve Austin (Main Event, 6/14/92)
  68. Larry Zbyszko & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Mike Graham (Pro, 2/8/92)
  69. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v Steve Austin & Brian Pillman (Main Event, 10/25/92)
  70. Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff v Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)
  71. Barry Windham & Ron Simmons v Jake Roberts & The Barbarian (Saturday Night, 9/26/92)
  72. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Mike Graham (Saturday Night, 2/1/92)
  73. Barry Windham v Steve Austin (Saturday Night, 2/1/92)
  74. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v Barry Windham & Brian Pillman (Main Event, 12/27/92)
  75. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas v Diamond Dallas Page & Vinnie Vegas (Saturday Night, 11/14/92)
  76. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Steve Austin & Bobby Eaton (Power Hour, 5/16/92)
  77. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Shinya Hashimoto & Hiroshi Hase (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)
  78. Rick Rude & Steve Austin v Z-Man & Marcus Bagwell (Clash XIX, 6/16/92)
  79. Rick Rude v Brad Armstrong (Worldwide, 2/1/92)
  80. Arn Anderson, Rick Rude, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Brian Pillman, Ron Simmons, Big Josh & Z-Man (Worldwide, 2/29/92)
  81. Sting v Lex Luger (Superbrawl, 2/9/92)
  82. Bobby Eaton v Dustin Rhodes (Worldwide, 5/9/92)
  83. Sting & Ricky Steamboat v Rick Rude & Steve Austin (Clash XVIII, 1/21/92)
  84. Steve Austin & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Z-Man (Main Event, 1/26/92)
  85. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Brian Pillman & Marcus Bagwell (Worldwide, 8/15/92)
  86. Steve Austin v Z-Man (Worldwide, 8/1/92)
  87. Brian Pillman v Brad Armstrong (Saturday Night, 4/4/92)
  88. Steve Austin v Z-Man (Saturday Night, 4/4/92)
  89. Steve Austin v Barry Windham (Worldwide, 3/7/92)
  90. Bobby Eaton v Dustin Rhodes (Pro, 2/1/92)
  91. Rick Rude v Z-Man (Saturday Night, 2/1/92)
  92. Arn Anderson, Steve Austin & Bobby Eaton v Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff (Beach Blast, 6/20/92)
  93. Arn Anderson v Nikita Koloff (Power Hour, 5/16/92)
  94. Arn Anderson & Steve Austin v The Steiner Brothers (Saturday Night, 6/13/92)

1992 WCW Ramblings

Nikita Koloff v Mr. Hughes (Saturday Night, 5/9/92)

Holy shit, this was a great. I mean, 1992 Nikita is good Nikita, and I loved Hughes bumping around like a big freak for the Steiners when I watched those matches a few months ago, but this really has no right being as good as it is. They don’t do anything fancy at all, and structurally it’s as simple as you can get, but these are two big bullish fellas and when two big bullish fellas wrestler, ideally you want to watch a match that feels like two big bullish fellas just going at each other. Couple really nifty parts at the start, like Hughes telling Nikita to try and shoulder tackle him again because he pities the fool, so after two failed attempts he just hauls off and dropkicks him. The transition spot into Hughes in control is AWESOME – first they go into a test of strength and Hughes kicks Nikita in the gut to drop him to his knees. They repeat for a second time, and then the third time Nikita jumps back, dodges the kick, connects with one of his own, and starts pounding away on the arm. From there he works his way into a hammerlock, and at this point Hughes manages to get the ref’ to stand directly in front of him so he can draw his leg back and kick Nikita in the balls. I so need to get a hold of more WCW Mr. Hughes. He’s awesome in this, constantly pissed off and trashtalking for ten minutes. “ASK HIM! REF, ASK HIM! AAAAAASK HIIIIM!” “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! I SAID SHUDDUP!” Also has the BEST permanent scowl, man. He’s like a taller, fatter Koko Ware in suspenders with a much meaner disposition. And that comparison goes beyond the fact they’re both black because he bumps like a taller, fatter Koko with a meaner disposition, too (he takes a fuckin’ Flair slam off the top rope, fer chrissakes! HE’S LIKE 800 POUNDS). Cool moment where he whips Nikita into the ropes and just stands in the middle of the ring, waiting for Nikita to barrel into him because he knows who’s coming off worst from that collision. Finish is pretty much perfect. Hughes’ offence for the whole match has been really simple, but a big weapon was the spot where he’d drape Nikita’s neck across the middle rope where he’d then charge and jump on him. Down the stretch he tries it again, but Nikita moves and Hughes winds up crotching himself on the middle rope, complete with a great sell of him showing he’s been hurt down low (nice payback from the earlier low blow), turning around into the Russian Sickle. 1992 WCW; how great is THIS shit?!

Steiner Brothers v Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka (Wrestlewar, 5/17/92)

This is like a New Japan style/Steiners-bomb-fest hybrid with the violence and intensity turned way up. There are also a few little sub-stories that crop up during it, the first of which is the mauling of young Takayuki Iizuka and how much of it he’s able to take after one of the crazy Steiner double teams goes awry and Rick winds up landing on his face from the top rope with his entire bodyweight, busting his nose to the point where he can barely open his eyes. It’s not traditional southern tag formula, so nobody really plays face in peril, but Iizuka eats a ridiculous amount of punishment and one begins to wonder how much of it he can take before he’s no longer able to get up (turns out it’s quite a bit). The second is that Rick and Fujinami don’t particularly like each other and won’t hesitate to stick it to the other. At one point Rick is covering Iizuka near the Fujinami corner, so Fujinami breaks it up by kicking him square in the face. Jesse on commentary is even marking. Fujinami gets the tag after Iizuka’s been beaten on for a few minutes and the first thing he does is head straight over to Rick – who’s on the apron – to start a fight, and what makes it even better is that Iizuka’s taking a million cheapshots on Scott while the ref’ is trying to separate Rick and old man Fujinami. Match as a whole is like a roll call of 1992 heavyweight highspots, and every single one looks totally nasty and hate-filled. In the first minute and a half Scott tries to hit Fujinami with that crazy modified fallaway slam that he’d do, where he’d kinda moonsault himself over while still holding onto the recipient as opposed to letting him go and tossing him like a JBL or Scott Hall, except he messes it up and almost impales his own head into the fuckin’ mat. Then the psycho gets right back up and does it to Iizuka, although this time he actually does it right. Rick counters a doomsday device by catching Iizuka in mid-air – Rick is on Fujinami’s shoulders at this point – and CRUSHING him with a belly-to-belly, and I can only imagine it’s the first time it’s been done in the US because the crowd and Jim Ross alike totally freak out. Those are two of the more impressive spots of the match, but there’s more where that came from, I tells ya. Big Steiner brothers spectacles are generally always filled with bombs and impressive highspots, but they managed to capture an aura of actual dislike between the two teams here, and the cool little sub-plots that appear give it a little extra to put it over the top.

Steiner Brothers v Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (Clash of the Champions XIX, 6/16/92)

This was really great; four big bomb throwing motherfuckers going out and throwing bombs. Doesn’t start out that way, though, as the first five minutes or so are entirely built around all four grappling and going for amateur takedowns and stuff. It all looks really uncooperative and surly, sort of like what I’d imagine an Americanised heavyweight shoot-style fight would be like. There’s an awesome struggle over a bridge between Scott and Gordy, where Scott tries to bridge out from below a couple times while Gordy shifts his weight to the side so Scott can’t stand all the way up, then the next attempt looks like it’s going to work so Gordy just turns dead weight and falls right back down on Scott’s head. Things get more and more niggly, and that leads to Williams throwing the amateur shit out the window and murdering Rick with a HUGE lariat. Rick was never afraid to sell a big clothesline by taking a bump right on his head, and that’s what he does here; looks really nasty, like some DDT junior heavyweight taking a neck bump off a Sekimoto lariat, except Sekimoto ain’t Steve Williams and Rick sure as shit ain’t a junior heavyweight. This is where things settle down into a more traditional southern tag style, firstly with Rick taking a stint as FIP, firing back by tossing Gordy and Williams on their head, tagging in Scott, and then Scott taking a longer stint in peril. Scott’s FIP section is particularly strong. Scott isn’t really a guy too many people think of as a great “Ricky Morton”, but I really dig him as a face in peril. Gordy and Williams are great at working him over, first by picking apart the back before moving onto the leg, and that plays into a great finish. Post-hot tag there’s a spot where Scott is out on the floor and Williams just ploughs into him with a huge low tackle to the knee. And that finish, man… probably the best chop block in history.

Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff v Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)

Last time I saw this I thought it was really good. Then I watched the New Japan best of the 80s set and got totally burned out on the way the vast majority of the tag matches on it were worked (constant tags, nobody gaining any sort of sustained advantage, things continually moving really quickly, etc.), and since I remember this being worked more like a New Japan tag than a traditional southern tag, I wasn’t sure what I’d come away thinking this time around. Turns out it held up just fine, a few awkward moments aside. Nikita might actually have been my favourite guy in this. There’s a neat extended power v speed exchange between him and the juniors at the beginning which I thought was really well done, in no small part because Nikita managed to strike a balance between ‘vulnerable big oaf’ and ‘destructive powerhouse’ pretty well. He’s also really good at working the apron; very vocal and always doing something to make it seem like he’s willing his partner on to make the tag. Steamboat is Steamboat, and while he doesn’t get much of a chance to play FIP like I’d normally hope, he’s in the unusual position of being “stronger” than his two opponents. Not saying Steamboat’s some feeble old dude with no core strength, but he rarely worked in a way that would suggest he was bigger than a guy like Anderson or Rude. Pillman and Liger are light heavies, Steamboat is a heavyweight, so Steamboat works on top more than usual, busting out a few nifty power moves for the occasion (double backbreaker into a running powerslam, for example). Liger and Pillman are a good junior team with a bunch of nice looking offence and highspots, and Liger in particular is fun to watch opposite Steamboat. I don’t think this would’ve been hurt by being trimmed of a few minutes, but all in all I still really dig it. I’m not sure this is even a top 15 tag for the company in 1992, which really goes to show how strong WCW was that year.

Terry Gordy & Steve Williams v Ricky Steamboat (Great American Bash, 7/12/92)

This started off with Steamboat getting to work some nice and tight mat exchanges with Gordy and Williams and I was really enjoying it. Wasn’t as good as the Steiners/Terry-Steve mat exchanges from the Clash match, but it’s a blast to watch, in no small part because it makes you think to yourself “Man, Steamboat’s an underrated mat wrestler”, which is nuts because a guy as good and already highly regarded as Steamboat being underrated at anything is, eh… nuts, I guess. There’s even a pretty lengthy section where Nikita matches up with both Gordy and Williams on the mat and I was digging that, too. The longer the match goes the less I find myself feeling it, though. There’s plenty to like, and you get an FIP spell where Steamboat sells his ribs for tank-like offence, so that alone more or less makes it worth your time, but I thought Gordy and Williams controlled too much in the end. Also, much like the Steamboat/Nikita v Pillman/Liger match, I thought they could have shaved a few minutes off and it would have benefited more than hurt it. Finish looked real nice, though.

Steve Austin v Z-Man (Worldwide, 8/1/92)

I feel dirty about saying this, but Zenk didn’t annoy me much at all in this. He’s usually so bland he’s detestable, and he does hit a million whiffed dropkicks, but otherwise I thought he was tolerable, hitting stuff really clean and crisp at the start, taking Austin over with a nifty run-up-the-turnbuckle headlock, and generally being a totally inoffensive, fired up, vanilla babyface. Austin seemed to get better and better as the year went on, and this is the second match against Zenk from ’92 that made me care about anything Zenk was doing, so credit to Steve for that, I guess. He hits a really swank backbreaker here as a counter to Zenk’s second attempt at the run-up-the-turnbuckle headlock takedown, and I like simple shit like that. Same goes for him spotting Zenk trying to fake him out with a jump out of the corner after being caught by it earlier, the second time just popping Zenk in the chops. Not among the top matches WCW produced in ’92, but when this is the least of what you’re getting every week, one doesn’t complain.

Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat (Saturday Night, 8/1/92)

I watched this on Will’s Steamboat comp, and based on the match listing for the disc it was on I figured it would be a sub-10 minute TV set up to their Clash match that followed it. Turns out it goes almost 20 minutes, and maaaaaan it’s good stuff. Steamboat comes in with taped up ribs from the Bash match against Gordy and Williams and much of the match is built around Austin working them and Steamboat turning in a HELL of a selling performance. It has all the little touches you expect from a great Steamboat sell-job, like his body going rigid every time he takes a bump, massaging his own ribs while he’s trying to mount some offence of his own, trying to scoop Austin up for a slam and buckling due to the pain, etc. Austin brings some nifty touches of his own too, like jabbing Steamboat’s ribs to break a bridge attempt. WCW going to commercial with Steamboat working Austin’s arm and then returning with Austin on offence kinda pissed me off, though, because I would’ve liked to have seen the transition into Austin in control. They even throw in a Dusty finish and I was totally digging all of it. Really good match.

Steve Austin v Ricky Steamboat (Clash of the Champions XX, 9/2/92)

This is the rematch from the Saturday Night match (as far as I can tell, anyway) and it’s billed as Steamboat’s last chance at the TV title. Paul E. is suspended above the ring in a cage too, so Austin has to go it alone; one on one and no excuses from the loser. Oh, and it’s no DQ. I thought this was a pretty terrific little match. Only goes about ten minutes, but it’s the sort of compact contest with a strong story built around a pre-existing injury that I really like. Actually reminds me of the Steamboat/Tully match from Starrcade ’84, with Austin throwing out blows to the ribs at the start, although where Tully would throw little jabs and body blows to sort of test the severity of the injury, Austin’s flat out wailing away on them with punches and forearms. Steamboat controls early by working in and out of a headlock, and, from the point of view of Austin working from the bottom, I can’t imagine that being as interesting in, say, February as it was here in September, which seems like a pretty good indication of Austin’s improvement in singles over the course of 1992. Cool moment where Steamboat has a standing headlock and Austin tries to lift him and toss him over his back, starts shaking the cobwebs, but Steamboat lands on his feet and slaps it back on again. He does it a second time, shakes the cobwebs some more, but Steamboat’s still on his feet and goes back to it yet again. Third time Austin figures it’s best to go a different route and instead of trying to toss Steamboat over the back again, this time he just yanks the hair and slams him down to the mat. He’s pretty great at doing things like that the whole match, a desperate man resorting to questionable tactics as everything else fails and his title seems to be slipping; putting his feet on the ropes and grabbing the tights during roll up attempts, tossing Steamboat over the top rope only for it not to matter because it’s no DQ, things like that. He’s much more interesting on offence at this point, too. Most of his offence in February would be standard clubber-fu, clotheslines, etc. He’d be pretty chinlock happy as well, and he never really had a big enough bag of tricks to fill time and keep it interesting with a focused control segment. Granted, his control segment here is short, but it’s focused, interesting, and he visibly has more in the holster were it to go longer (example would be the 8/1 match from Saturday Night). Final few minutes are totally great. Really snazzy spot where they’re fighting over a tombstone piledriver, and Austin’s eventual sell of the move is tops, going dead with his arms falling by his side like jelly. Finish is nice as well and a great way to cap it off. I watched this twice; first time I thought it was the match that put Steamboat over the top as the WCW WOTY for ’92, but the second time I thought it came off as the best Austin match and performance of the year in a singles setting. Steamboat is always good and that’s no different here, but Austin rocked as a man subtly showing his grip on his title slowly loosening and doing whatever he feels necessary to keep hold of it. You never hear this talked about as one of the best WCW matches of the year, but I don’t think there are THAT many better than it, at least when you look at the quality that year. Hell, if it happened in ’95 It’d be my #1.

Sunday, 18 July 2010


Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard v Barry Windham & Lex Luger (NWA World Championship Wrestling, 4/23/88)

This is the rematch from #13 and is probably a top 15 all-time US tag for me.

Their Clash match is about ten minutes shorter than this, and in that you had a ton of big stuff being brought out, like the DDT, slingshot suplex and spinebuster all in the one short FIP section. This goes about 20 minutes and has a lot more time to build to what they're going for. Not to say the Clash match was too short to build to anything special (because it's excellent), but this is really about Windham losing his patience with Luger and joining the Horsemen, which is a story you ideally need more than ten minutes to tell.

First part of this has Tully being isolated with Windham and Luger practically toying with him, letting him get near Arn in the corner only to drag him back into the middle of the ring, tossing him around with armdrags, laying into him with punches, etc. Luger's not really much of a factor, though; it's mostly Windham and Tully doing their thing and it rules. Love the spot where Tully hits the floor to take a power, resting his arm on the bottom rope, so Windham just grabs hold of it and drags him right back in so he can go back to twisting away at it. There's also time for Arn to get clocked with two big right hands, and one of them results in maybe the best punch drunk stagger sell in Double A history.

Windham's the guy that goes into FIP mode first, this time taking the shorter heat segment in a reversal from the Clash match. The first few minutes had Barry making a weasley little shithead his bitch; now we get to see Windham selling a beatdown - two roles the guy's a master in. The first few minutes also had Tully and Arn - more so Tully - stooging and bumping; now we get to see Tully and Arn working over a babyface - two roles both guys are masters in.

I really love Tully, by the way. Arn's a guy I've spoken about plenty in this project already (obviously), and will continue to speak plenty about as it continues, but the last few days have really made me remember how great Windham and Tully were. Tully's so great at working last ditch cut-off spots in tag matches, doing simple things like making the tag to his own partner and then sprinting over to the babyface corner and standing directly between Windham and Luger so Barry can't make the tag, or immediately dropping Barry with a drop toe hold so Arn can come in and pick his spot, and these are things you would think are standard spots in tag matches, but they're the little touches surprisingly few people bring. Tully does, and it adds so much.

While Windham in peril was the meat of the Clash match, it's Luger in peril that's the meat of this one. Luger isn't as effective a seller as Barry is in general, but I honestly think he's a guy with an unfair rep as a shitty worker (well, before, say, 1992), and he's great as the main FIP here, selling his ass off for everything the Horsemen throw at him, constantly showing desperation in trying to crawl over to Windham for the tag every chance he gets. He's got no problem bumping into concrete and the guard rail, either. There's a great moment where Tully puts him in a figure four, and after it's broken Luger tries to stand up and get to his corner only to collapse in a heap, his leg completely buckled, trying to claw his way to the corner instead. Looked cool as shit.

As good as Luger is as the babyface, Tully and Arn are even better at working him over. Tully in particular is such a cheapshotting little fuck. Awesome Double A shtick spot in this, too, where he does his knucklelock into pinning predicament spot with Luger getting the shoulder up the first time, and instead of Arn being able to force the shoulder back to the mat like he normally would, Luger just powers up and turns it into a greco-Roman knuckle lock, and that draws the little fuckhead in to punt him in the ribs. Arn's facial expressions totally make it, shifting from an expression of "What the fuck is this?" as he can't force the shoulder back to the mat, to a look of "Oh, FUCK, I am so screwed!" as Luger works his way to his knees. He knows what's coming and he makes sure everybody else does. Someone should make a 3 hour music video of Anderson's shtick and put it on youtube. Both he and Tully are so great at antagonising Windham on the apron, too. I watched the Horsemen documentary yesterday and Tully would talk in kayfabe about how they never really cheated as opposed to using manipulation to get the referee or whoever it may be into a position where they could use that as an advantage, and while it sounds like some carny bullshit promo for the DVD, you watch this and think "shit, these guys are amazing at making you believe they're manipulating people to their advantage."

The eventual hot tag to Windham leads to one of my favourite in-match angles ever. Windham's been standing on the apron dying to get in for about 8 minutes at this point, so he obviously cleans house as soon as he gets it, but at the very second the tag is made you see Tully kneeing Luger right out the ring. As soon as he gets the chance he's right out there after him to post him, and now it's more or less down to Windham and Windham alone against Tully and Arn, which is a fight he can't win. He'll look to his corner for the tag... but it never comes. JJ's over screaming in his ear "I told you he wouldn't be there" and the result is Barry SHOCKING THE WORLD by turning on Luger, taking his head off with a lariat and joining the dark side. Terrific finish to a terrific match.

There's a handful of real high end US tags that I haven't seen in years, and there'll no doubt be more showing up on future DVDVR 80s project sets, but right now I can't think of too many that go ahead of this. Everybody brings a shit load to what's going on; it's not like there's two or three guys there busting their asses while the fourth is "just there" or whatever. Best match I've watched for this project yet. Go check it out.

Saturday, 17 July 2010


Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard v Barry Windham & Lex Luger (NWA Clash of the Champions)

I said in yesterday's ramble that the Arn/Eaton v Dustin/Windham tag from Clash XIX was as good a ten minute southern tag as you'll see. That's a great match, no doubt, but I kinda lied, because the original Clash show had TWO ten minute southern style tags that are even better.

This one's for the World Tag straps and the crowd is ridiculously hot right from the jump.

Starts out with Arn and Tully pinballing for Luger and we get one of my favourite trademark Arn comedy spots, as Luger goes to double clothesline both guys, only for Arn to duck, start pointing to his head because he's smarter than your average bear, and then turn around right into another Luger clothesline. First minute and a half is all Luger, just mowing down anything in sight, until Arn boots him in the leg and the Horsemen take over.

The heat segment on Luger's short, much like the Windham in peril section of the match I talked about yesterday, but watching Arn and Tully trying to take some roid head's leg apart for a couple minutes is always a good way to spend a couple minutes.

Hot tag to Windham has big Barry cleaning house and Arn and Tully have no problems pinballing for him, either. Tully is especially willing to take whatever's thrown at him; he eats a running lariat, a big powerslam, and a slam off the top that gets some huge height. Great spot where Windham hooks him in a sleeper, so Tully tries to roll to the floor to escape, except Barry keeps a hold of it all the way and Arn eventually has to rush around and "wake him up".

Windham in peril is the meat of this and holy fuck does Windham in peril rule the fuggin' universe. I can't quite explain what it is about Windham's selling that I love, but man, I really love Windham's selling. As in, all the time. "holy fuck does Windham in peril rule the fuggin' universe" is a statement that applies to just about every match where he plays the FIP, but this one specifically is just awesome. "I really love Windham's selling" obviously applies here as well, but holy shit do Arn and Tully give him a bucket load of great stuff to sell for. In terms of offence they hit him with a spinebuster, a DDT (both Arn) and a slingshot suplex (Tully), but what really puts this section over the top is the shtick and all the bits in between.

Arn's shtick is the greatest, and there's two great signature Arn shtick spots in this. The first is the spot where he'll try and work a knucklelock into a pinning situation, fail to score a pinfall - usually after two attempts - and then try and work for a better position by dropping his knees down on the opponent. If you've seen enough Arn you'll know it's not going to work, and sure enough Windham lifts his own knees up and Arn winds up google-eyed with two knees buried in his crotch. The second isn't necessarily a "signature" shtick spot, but it's a variation of one. Arn loves to do the double noggin-knocker double KO spot in his matches, but what's great about it is that he's got a bunch of variations of it. Here there's no double noggin-knocker, but you still get an awesome double KO spot as both he and Windham blast each other with a left hand at the same time. Windham does a terrific "dead on his feet" sell where he collapses and takes a big timber bump on his face. Arn's sell of it is beyond description, spinning around, landing on one knee, sort of trying to stand back up again, swinging at air with another punch before eventually falling flat on his ass. Words don't do it justice. Tully doesn't bring the kind of shtick Arn does, but it's actually Tully that does the double noggin-knocker spot in this, hitting the mat as Windham comes off the ropes, stands up with his back to Barry and Barry careens into him, Barry's face smashing off the back of Tully's head. Two great double KO spots in one Hell of a heat segment.

The eventual hot tag to Luger totally blows the roof off the place, and while Luger pretty much sticks to running guys down with clotheslines and powerslamming the shit out of them, he flexes his muscles and does exactly what he needs to, when he needs to do it, and with a crowd this hot you don't have to do much else.

Finish has the crowd going completely ballistic as JJ gets on the apron with a chair, presumably to whack Lex, only Luger spots it and sends Arn into it face first. 1, 2, 3 and we've got NEEEEWWWWW World Tag Champs.

So great. I guess I'd generally call myself a big Luger fan, and he does what's required of him in this, but the three other guys make it as good as it is. Tully and Arn know exactly when to let Windham and Luger take their hope spots and they've got a shit load of tricks in their bag to keep things interesting all the time. Windham's FIP section might be my favourite Windham FIP section ever, just a balls out fantastic, compact heat segment.

A good southern style tag is my favourite kind of wrestling, and I could watch shit like this for hours upon hours. Think I'm gonna do their rematch for tomorrow's installment.

Friday, 16 July 2010


Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton v Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (WCW Clash of the Champions XIX, 6/16/92)

This is as good a ten minute southern tag as you're likely to see. Everybody brings it big time here and the result is a really great little match.

We start out with Barry and Arn and Ventura's on commentary giving it "Why is he still allowed to have that fist taped? It happened MONTHS ago!", so you know what to expect. Sure enough Barry pops him with a big right and Arn collapses on his keester, checking to see if he's still got a mouth full of teeth. The opening Arn/Barry exchange is short, but it's exactly what you want from a 2 minute exchange between them, capped off by Barry dropkicking Arn off the top rope to the floor.

Then we get Dustin and Eaton, and that might be even better. Again, it's short, but it's got everything you want from those two matching up for a couple minutes - Dustin doing the repeated bionic elbows to the forehead while Eaton falls back, bounces off the middle rope and winds up back on his feet for more elbows; Dustin going for a sunset flip and Eaton stopping short, popping him in the gut with a punch while Dustin's on his way back down, etc. Dustin totally wastes him with a huge running boot to the face that sends Eaton to the floor, and Heyman's going crazy, screaming about how that's twice his boys have been knocked over the top rope, demanding the Texicans be disqualified.

There's two FIP sections to this. The first is Windham taking a short (to the point where it isn't really face in peril) beating after a cheapshot from Bobby, and then we get the mini-hot tag to Dustin who flattens Arn with an awesome lariat. Then we get an even more awesome transition into Dustin's FIP, with Arn going for the DDT close to the ropes, Dustin holding on to block it only to stand up straight and get caught with double axe handle to the throat from Eaton on the apron.

Dustin's heat section is just loaded with great stuff, like Eaton throwing amazing punches, Dustin taking his big cross body to nowhere bump and Heyman plastering him in the kidneys with that brick of a phone. Easily one of the better compact FIP sections I've seen.

I've spoken about Arn's stomps more than once since I've started doing these, and man alive do they rule in this. He stomps Dustin's skull six times a row and it seriously might be the best set of stomps ever; they really look brutal. Then Windham comes in because he can't take it anymore, and while the ref' is putting him out, Arn uses the bottom rope to get extra height on another stomp right to Dustin's face. We also get one of Arn's trademark ass-first bumps off of a Dustin jawbreaker, and nobody takes an ass-first bump like Arn.

Finish to this is great, with Eaton hitting Dustin with his own bulldog, then going for it again only for Dustin to shove him into the turnbuckle and make the hot tag to Barry. Problem is, the ref's distracted by Arn so he doesn't see it, but Barry's all "Sheddup, dickhead" and cleans Eaton's clock anyway. They're out on the floor, and Dustin, who's still dazed in the ring, suffers death by spinebuster behind the ref's back. Arn hits the floor and goes after Windham so Eaton can go back and pin Dustin, and from that we get a GREAT nearfall. I honestly thought it was over. Dustin completes the upset by moving out of the way of an Alabama Jam and hitting his bulldog while Heyman is fucking irate and swinging his phone at anything that moves.

Awesome match. Arn was terrific whenever he was in there, but fuck man, all four guys were. Countless moments of subtle brilliance from everybody, everything you could want from a short southern tag... great stuff.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sir William, Is That Tea Ready?

Barry Windham v Steve Regal (WCW Power Hour, 4/24/93)

Definitely the best Regal match I've seen up to this point. He's still a babyface here and I always thought he looked much more comfortable as a heel, so there's a few awkward moments (although they come about more as a result of him and Barry not being totally on the same page rather than Regal being a babyface, so whatever), but fuck that noise because Windham's pissed off and surly enough for twelve. Love the arm work at the beginning; hooking in an arm bar and digging his own elbow into Regal's tricep, using his left foot to keep Regal's arm extended on the mat and stomping on it with his right, keeping a hold of a wristlock as Regal tries to toss him all the way across the ring and coming back to crank on it even more, etc. Regal even busts out some nice trickery of his own, but fuck THAT noise as well because Windham puts a stop to it by blasting him in the ear with a big dirty palm thrust. He throws tonnes of great strikes in this, from David Louiseau style elbows to a flurry of rapid fast corner body punches to a fuggin' Khali-like chop right to Regal's neck. Great moment towards the end where he's catching a breather in the corner and Regal punches the mat like he's all "Come on, motherfucker!" so Windham bolts out of the corner and fuckin' lariats him in the face. Haven't even mentioned the nasty little touches like grating Regal's eyes across the ring rope. AND I think Nick Patrick pissed in his Wheetos because Windham's all over him at various points. "I'm ABIDIN' by the rules, DAMMIT!" "I'm BACK, ain't I!?" "Will you COUNT, DAMMIT?!" This is worked like a hierarchy type match so Windham controls the majority of it, but it means you get Regal hanging tough and coming close to weathering the storm. They never really had anyone believing that Regal could actually pull it out, though, even with a nice small package nearfall. Also like the spot with boys guys taking a tumble over the ropes and Regal getting his leg caught up in the ropes, letting Barry recover enough to plant him with a big DDT. Regal was perfectly fine here, but this was a total Windham show and it was terrific; gritty and manly as Hell. Between this and the Anderson match from 6/6/92 that I watched a couple days ago, I'm definitely back on a Windham kick. Great match.

Steven Regal v Marcus Bagwell (WCW Clash of the Champions XXIII, 6/16/93)

Regal's no longer plain ol' Steve; now he's the Blue blood, Steven Regal. With Sir William, who's Bill fuckin' Dundee. This was alright, not nearly as good as the Windham match, but Regal's working heel now and he seems WAY more comfortable. Match only goes about 5 minutes so there isn't much to it, but Regal has now taken the same big bump two matches in a row where he gets launched across the ring by his arm or head where he waits until the last second before rotating over and doing a back bump off of a flip, so I'm interested in seeing if he whips it out regularly so I can start calling it a Regal bump and thus not bother trying to explain it like an idiot - because let's face it, that wasn't a good explanation and if you can picture what I mean in your head then you're a greater man than I - every time he does it. Because it's a really cool bump. His facial expression when he's taking it rules, too. Finish is sort of botched and the crowd don't seem to know what happened exactly, but both guys looked good here and there was enough going on for it not to be bad at all.

Steven Regal v Ricky Steamboat (WCW Main Event, 8/1/93)

Oh fuck this was awesome. They more or less bullshit their way through the first five minutes and I had to check they actually HAD gone five minutes, because it was way too fucking fun. Match as a whole completely flies by. Regal's in full on snob mode where he won't even shake Steamboat's hand because he's a dirty commoner and there's a great moment where Steamboat gets hiptossed and draws his legs up to kick Regal away, except Regal spots it and tells Steamboat to trot on because he isn't fooling anybody. Peasant. Regal wags his finger at Steamboat for having the audacity to try something so ridiculous and insulting so Steamboat grabs his finger and starts twisting it while Regal dances around like he's stepping on hot coals. Then Steamboat starts prancing around the ring, seemingly implying Regal has tits and wears a bra or something and Zbyszko's giving it all "no comment" on commentary. That's the first half of this match. It. Was. Glorious. They decide to start that wrestling nonsense around this point, but the actual wrestling manages to live up to the shticking. The thing I remember loving about these ten minute Regal matches from around this time is that there would be something in practically every single one that I hadn't seen before. This one has a great struggle over a three quarter nelson where Regal sort of grabs Steamboat's face and twists his neck whenever Steamboat seems to be close to reversing it. Also love Steamboat missing a dropkick and landing on his arm, selling it like someone just stabbed him in the funny bone with a screwdriver. That guy's somethin' else, man. Post-match is great with Regal and Dundee cutting the most stereotypical upper class Englishman promo since... I dunno, another Regal/Dundee promo, refusing Steamboat's challenge to a rematch by saying he has a rugby game the next week (this was after telling Schiavone the initial match was just a cricket warm-up for him). Steamboat slaps him with a pair of gloves and Regal wants the fuckin' papers. Oh shit they're gonna fuck each other up and I can't wait. I LOVED this. Million stars.


Arn Anderson & Steve Austin v Rick & Scott Steiner (WCW Saturday Night, 6/13/92)

Last time I saw this I thought it might have been one of the better "traditional" tags the Steiners were involved in. Definitely don't think that now, but there's enough to like here that I figured I'd still write about it.

Arn's good in this. He's probably the best of the four; either him or Scott. Those two always work well together. Scott's a guy that we've all seen tossing people around with suplexes and throws, and Arn always takes all of that stuff, sells it like death and has facial expressions that make you think they're the sort of wrestling moves that only people in the CIA should know about. "Titlt-a-whirl sidewalk slam?! The FUCK is that?!" Scott's a decent enough FIP in this, too. He takes one of those Windham bumps I mentioned in #10 where he'll launch himself over the top rope with a cross body to nowhere, and Arn gets a few minutes to work the back in typical Arn-like fashion.

Then Austin gets in and he's happy enough to do his own thing with a chinlock and shit. I didn't think Austin was much good in this at all. He was the least of the Dangerous Alliance guys to begin with, but it wasn't as obvious in tags. That's probably selling him short as well, because he seemed to be the kind of guy that could be great with a little direction, so a tag setting fit him perfectly. Here he seems lost at points, though, and the final few minutes are really clusterfuck material, with phantom tags, guys calling audibles, sloppy shit being thrown, etc. He's obviously not to blame for all of that, but the basic point is that he was pretty bad. He does have a couple great interactions with Rick, at least. Great moment where Rick's on his knees and Austin charges at him and Rick just murders him with a Steinerline.

Match goes about 10 minutes and definitely isn't something I'd call bad, but there's way better stuff out there featuring these guys.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Arn Anderson v Barry Windham (WCW Saturday Night, 6/6/92)

Last time I saw this I was a big fan of both guys. I really liked it.

This time I'm an even bigger fan of both guys. I think I liked it even more.

People that are neither here nor there on these guys will perhaps see this as a sort of "going long for the sake of going long" type deal, but fuck it, I'd much rather see Arn and Windham "going long for the sake of it" than just about any other wrestlers working long for the sake of it.

Direct comparison to this would maybe be the Windham/Austin 2/3 falls match from a month earlier that I think goes even longer. That match has way too much Austin in control, even if Barry fighting from the bottom is always good, but this is far more balanced, and as a result, better. Plus Arn circa-1992 smokes Austin circa-1992, both on offence and on defence. And, FWIW, I still like the Austin match a lot.

This being June '92, Windham still has his right hand bandaged up from a Larry Z ambush way back in October the previous year. Watch enough WCW from that 8-9 month period (must've really fucked his hand up. They didn't call him The Cruncher for nothin', I guess) and you'll see plenty of Windham matches where the opponent(s) make a big deal out of the "taped fist", getting the ref' to check the hand, complaining about any punches being thrown with it, etc.

This is probably the best example of the fist being used as a recurring theme throughout.

Before the match starts you've got the "check his hand, dammit!" shtick with Arn and Heyman outraged at the fact he's STILL allowed to wrestle guys with a taped fist. When the match actually does start, Arn is weary of the right hand. Then Windham pops him with a GREAT punch and Arn takes an instant powder, staggering up the aisle while Heyman screams down the phone to whoever it is he usually screams down his massive celly to. Back in he gets hit with another one and takes his signature bump by collapsing on his ass, eyes bugged out, backing into the safety of the corner. As the match progresses Windham always has a game changer in his right hand, and every shot Arn takes with it is sold as if it's a bigger and bigger blow the longer it goes and the more he's hit with.

First fall is my favourite. Barry's in control for most of it, and there's a neat little story of him going after Anderson's arm and shoulder while Arn tries to work Barry's leg. Barry's great at working simple holds and keeping them interesting by doing cool little things, like putting Arn in an armbar and drawing circles in the air with it while simultaneously applying a mini-claw on the shoulder joint. I've spoke about how awesome Arn can be at being a nasty son of a bitch when working holds as well, and he brings that here. Pinnacle of the first fall is Windham countering out of a knee bar by trying to tear Arn's arm out the socket.

Second fall is the opposite of the first in terms of who's controlling the majority of it, but Arn in control is just as good as Barry in control. We also get the crazy reckless signature Windham bump where he goes for a running cross body and winds up hurling himself over the top rope and bursting his kidneys on the ring apron. That leads to Arn working the back as a set up to the Spinebuster. Heyman gets his licks in like you'd expect, too. As soon as he sees Barry wiping himself out he takes off the jacket and starts flaunting the gigantic cell phone like it's his ball bat. Then he takes a running swing at Barry's back with it.

Third fall has both guys selling fatigue which means there's plenty of great "I'm about to pass out right about now" selling from Windham where he'll stagger around like he's totally punch drunk. Also has him throwing lots of trusty right hands. There's one in particular that was tremendous, throwing it almost out of desperation while Arn does the knee-buckled sell, falling backwards while throwing an aimless punch of his own catching nothing but air. Some cool continuity as well with Arn going back to the leg that he softened up in the first fall, which gives us a big figure four nearfall spot down the stretch.

Finish is the kind of run-in finish you'll see all the time from this period, but I'm honestly so jaded to screwy finishes now that unless something is made of horrendous suck I most likely won't mind it.

Screwy finish aside, this was really fucking great.