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