Monday, 30 August 2010

Is That 1992 WCW, Or Just A Brilliant Disguise?

Steve Austin v Barry Windham (Worldwide, 3/7/92)

This was decent, but these guys had a bunch of matches in '92 and this might not even be their fourth best. Windham's taped fist is a factor yet again in a Barry/Austin match, and while Austin never really got great until mid-way through the year, he was always one of the better guys at making Windham's punch look deadly. There's a spot early where he winds up on the apron protesting about the tape and Windham just cracks him to shut him up. That leads to a nice transition where Austin drags him out to the floor and DRILLS him head-first into the barricade a couple times. Of course Windham returns the favour shortly afterwards and they have a mid-match brawl around the ringside area, but this is mostly about Barry always having his right hand to bail him out should it be required. Doesn't go very long and has a run-in finish, but one can't be disappointed when there's so much awesome stuff over the course of the year.

Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko v Brian Pillman, Z-Man & Marcus Bagwell (Saturday Night, 3/7/92)

Bagwell comes into this with his neck all banged up after a Greg Valentine mugging earlier in the show, and Arn's mocking of him before the bell is tremendous. This kid can barely turn his head to the side and here's Anderson ripping him and laughing like a total dick. The Pillman/Arn exchanges in this are really choice. Those two always match up well, primarily because Arn's a guy that's awesome at showing frustration and annoyance at being shown up, outwitted, etc, and Pillman's the perfect guy to play off it since he has a ton of spots built around being quicker than the opponent. Pillman jumps over him with a leapfrog, hits the ropes and stops dead as Arn jumps for his own leapfrog, Pillman kicking him in the gut and making him look foolish as Arn comes back down to earth; stuff like that. Arn's also great at showing surprise and bewilderment, so he treats Pillman's highspots, which weren't exactly commonplace in the States in 1992, like crazy feats of athleticism that he's never seen before. He'll bail to the floor, talk it over with Paul E., bitch about phantom hair pulls and cheating, threaten a fan or two for pointing out he was just schooled; all things that Arn does to add to the exchanges. Pillman and Zenk are pretty much working this like a handicap match, flat out refusing to let Bagwell get in there for fear of him being crippled. Zenk's actually as tolerable here as I can ever remember since he keeps the hamminess to a minimum. The 3 on 2 disadvantage catches up with them eventually, and we get a Double A noggin-knocker spot as he sacrifices Eaton's head by smashing Pillman's into it, which is an awesome spot Arn and Eaton would use once in a while. Pillman's always a good FIP so you know what you're getting with that. Zbyszko's in dickhead mode here, stretching Pillman near the babyface corner while taunting Bagwell. Pretty sure he tells him to shut up because he's a punk, so it's typical Larry and it's typically great. Finish is cool as well and pays off the injury angle nicely. Bagwell more or less jumps in front of Zenk to beat him to the hot tag and comes in looking to give the Alliance a payback for all the mockery, but he's not worth much of a shit in his condition and Arn and Eaton quickly wind up giving him a double hot shot for being so hasty. If you're gonna run an angle where a participant in a match has a serious neck injury, then this is as good an example as any in terms of keeping it believable. Good, solid stuff.

Ricky Steamboat v Bobby Eaton (Worldwide, 4/4/92)

Fun enough match, but this is mostly all about the post-match angle with Madusa slapping Steamboat and Steamer, in a moment where his temper gets the better of him, slaps her right back. His reaction to this is great; apologetic and almost begging for forgiveness at laying his hand on a woman, no matter how much of a bitch she may be. This brings out the rest of the Dangerous Alliance and Rude completely murders him with a chair shot to the neck. Then they drag him out to the floor and fuck him up and we've got the blurred camera shot because it's too graphic for our audience. Sting and pals show up and all hell breaks loose. There's some cool stuff in the match itself, like Steamboat's sell of a top rope kneedrop, then him catching the second one and trying to turn it into a figure-four, and there's an interesting ref' bump to boot, but it's only a few minutes long and, well... the fuckin' post-match angle. That's where it's at.

Steve Austin v Z-Man (Saturday Night, 4/4/92)

I had remembered this as one of the better Zenk singles matches I'd seen, but after a re-watch I think I actually prefer the match these two had in August later in the year. This is 2/3 falls and gets plenty of time, but the August match felt more compact even though it was half as long. Not a whole lot of difference between the two, that said. First fall has Zenk using speed to keep Austin off balance while Austin tries to slow things down. This is long hair Austin so he's pretty happy to slap on a chin lock and lay in it for a while. Crazy how much he'd improve by the time they got to July the very same year. Must've been the hair. Second and third falls have some duelling arm work which was pretty neat, but neither guy sells it enough for it to mean much and it peters out to nothing in the end. I liked parts of this, but the parts that stand out most are the negatives ones, and that's not really what you want from a 2/3 falls match that goes a decent length of time. Still, I wouldn't call it bad or anything.

WCW 1992 Project

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