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