Wednesday, 1 September 2010

DOUBLE A OF THE DAY #27

Arn Anderson, Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Larry Zbyszko & Bobby Eaton v Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff (WCW WrestleWar '92, 5/17/92)

"BAH GAWD CAN YOU FEEL THE INTENSITY?! CAN YOU FEEL IT?!"

So I've spoken in great length about a bunch of multi-man matches in this Dangerous Alliance v Sting's Squadron feud since I started doing these DAotD and 1992 WCW reviews, and everything's been building to the big Wargames blowoff at WrestleWar. All good Wargames have a good set-up, and this has been brewing for over 6 months at this point, so it's all set for something special. Result is one of the best Wargames ever.

First period starts out with Windham and Austin. The opening 5 minute period of most Wargames matches have spots where they'll tease someone being rammed into the cage and getting cut, then by the end of that 5 minute period you'll usually find someone does get rammed into the cage and someone does get cut. The opening period of the '91 Wargames was between Pillman and Windham. Pillman came in a house o' fire and wanted to mutilate Windham. There were teased cage shots and lacerations and the 5 minute period ended with Windham eating the cage and bleeding. Wargames 101, really.

This time Windham's babyface and Austin's the heel, but these two guys hate each other and have been feuding over the TV title for a while now, so we've got a good foundation. Plus Windham can work a heated five minute HATE~ segment in his sleep (see more or less everything in the Pillman feud from '91). Windham is on offence for most of this segment and just goes to town on Austin. I've gone on and on about how they play up Windham's taped fist as a big weapon in all of these matches, and it's a big weapon here. He throws right hands at the bell and it scores him the advantage. He throws a lot of right hands over the course of this match. Cool spot where Austin tries to use the top of the cage to do a sort of swinging dropkick, but Windham sidesteps it, catches him and drops him on his face.

All of the blood and cage teases are payed off first by Austin, who gigs himself huge and bleeds himself dry over the course of the next 20-something minutes. There's a shit-ton of spots built around working cuts by ramming guys' heads into the mesh, biting the wound, punching the wound, etc. in the history of Wargames. This has maybe my favourite 'biting the wound' spot of them all, as Barry drags Austin into the corner, yells "Here's a postcard for momma, BOY" into the close up camera and starts biting at Austin's bloody forehead. This comes practically at the end of their opening period so it's great as a way to cap off Barry's manhandling of Austin.

First period ends with Barry still whooping Austin, but of course the Dangerous Alliance win the coin toss and they get to send someone in first. This is where they go to Wargames 101 structure with one heel coming in to give heel team advantage, then one babyfave coming in house o' fire to even things up, rinse repeat until everybody's in and it's time for the MATCH BEYOND. Rick Rude's the first guy sent in after the coin toss and this leads to Barry going two on one for the next couple minutes. Austin is just a mess and Windham's yellow trunks are speckled with blood and so is the mat and fuck, Austin even BLED better after he cut his hair. Windham takes a return cage bump and Rude and Austin work him over, and that leads to:

Ricky Steamboat coming in house o' fire and he goes CRAZY and the crowd goes CRAZY and Jim Ross shits his drawers he's going so CRAZY. "STEAMBOAT WITH A DDT ON AUSTIN! AW YEAH!!!" Motherfucker is Steamboat a great house o' fire, throwing both Rude and Austin into the cage, DDTing them, chopping them in the face, even showing Austin how to do an assisted top-of-cage dropkick properly and then using it to hurricanrana Rude just for the fuck of it. It's at this point Windham's recovered some and they pair off; Windham with Austin, Steamboat with Rude. Steamboat and Rude hate each other with the fire of a thousand suns and have their own singles feud going on at this point, so those two match up for the large majority of the match from here on out.

Fourth period time and it's the Wargames vet, Double A. He comes in and right away DDTs Windham and plants Steamboat with a spinebuster, so now we're back to the babyface squad being at a disadvantage and the heels using the one man advantage to beat on them. There's a few Wargames spots you'll normally get with Arn; one of them is the spot where he'll put one guy in a half crab and then a teammate will come across to grab the other leg and in the end Arn and teammate will have someone in a two-man Boston crab thing. I'll hit on another one that he likes to do a little later, but he rolls out the double crab spot early here and that gives Windham a chance to come over and punch both Arn and Rude in the face with his taped fist to break it (the move was applied on Steamboat and obviously Rude's all over that shit. "Double crab on Steamboat? I don't even know what that is but fuck yeah, let's do that") and Ross on commentary is throwing another fit about how intense it is.

We get our first big 'from one ring to the other' bump of the match around this point, and shockingly enough it's Steamboat being launched over both sets of ropes by none other than Rick Rude. Then he follows him in and they double clothesline each other. The visual of Arn and Austin assaulting Barry in one ring while Steamboat and Rude lay motionless in the other is really cool because you get the sense those two guys have themselves a feud that's way more personal than any of the other feuds - within the encompassing feud - and they'll take a separate ring to kick each other's ass as long as there's enough space for that to even be possible.

Fifth period and it's Dustin o' fire. He comes in and goes right for Arn, catches him in the face with a boot and a knee and then floors him with a big bionic elbow. Then he gets a hold of Austin and does this spot where he hits an inverted atomic drop, but he smashes his head off the roof of the cage as he's hoisting him up, and follows that up with a monster lariat. And of course Steamboat's trying to snap Rude in two in one ring while the rest of the guys are fighting away in the other.

This is where Arn busts out another of his favourite Wargames spots, where he'll get his head caught between the two rings and an opponent will repeatedly bounce him up and down like he's a stump they're trying to beat into the ground. Dustin hasn't even been in two minutes and he's already caked in Austin's blood. Oh and Steamboat and Rude are fighting over a figure-four in their own designated space.

Sixth period and Zbyszko's in to give the heels the advantage again. At least that's the plan until Dustin cuts him off RIGHT as he gets in the ring and Larry is just spectacular at "OOHH"ing and flailing his arms and eating all of Dustin's punches and elbows. Crowd is totally losing it at this point because this is a moment that should leave the good guys at the bad guys' mercy. The heels have a one man advantage. They're 5 on 4. For the next two minutes the good guys are gonna take a pasting, which has been the story up until this point. And yet you wouldn't be able to tell that from what's actually happening. Bad guys only have one guy left on the floor while the good guys have two. Bad guys should be "winning" due to the numbers game. But they're not, and the crowd know it.

This is the key spot where Dangerously sends Madusa up the cage with the brickphone so she can drop it into Arn. Zbyszko hasn't been able to restore the advantage, but the phone will. Sting climbing up after her has the crowd losing it some more, but she's back down safe and sound and she did what she had to do.

So Arn starts blasting people with the telephone and the heels have their advantage again. Zbyszko's been on the outs with the Alliance for a little while now, so him coming in and fucking up plays into that story, plus it gives you plenty of Larry stooging and eating punches which you can never go wrong with. Dustin's cut open now as well and Rude's over trying to rip Steamboat's nose off his face.

Into the seventh period we go and it's time for the champion of the world. Sting's another great house o' fire and he comes in with this cool spot where he repeatedly military presses Rude into the roof of the cage before dropping him like a bad habit. He also launches Arn into the cage for some mega juice and Austin takes this insane backdrop into it on the other end like a big wad of blood-blond stupidity. A little later he's back and giving Dustin a flying lariat, and off of that Dustin takes his big inside-out-bump. And then Steamboat traps Rude's head between the two rings so he and Sting can "make a wish" with his legs.

Eighth period and we've got Eaton coming in with a taped fist of his own as the last guy for the Alliance. Dangerously is just maniacal beside him as the clock ticks town, chanting "WAR, WAR, WAR, WAR, WAR" and as the clock hits zero he lets out this huge "WAAAAOOOAAAARRR!" This is where the Alliance members start loosening the top turnbuckle so they can use the bolt as a weapon, first Zbyszko, then Rude, and that'll come into play later.

Final period sees Koloff come in to even things up, and now it's the MATCH BEYOND. The story going into this was whether Sting could trust Nikita or not and whether Nikita might actually be working for Dangerously. As soon as he comes in he yanks Arn off of Sting and throws him into the cage so hard that Nikita actually winds up with Arn's blood on his face. He helps him up and he's reassuring him that they're on the same side and Dangerously's outside shouting "GET HIM NIKITA, GET HIM!" Behind Sting you can see Arn and Austin planning their sneak attack, but just as they charge, Nikita pushes Sting out of the way and takes the proverbial bullet. Then comes the double clothesline spot where Nikita wipes out Austin and Sting wipes out Arn, big high five and the crowd goes ape fucking shit.

Final few minutes are built around that turnbuckle that's finally been taken off and what the Alliance are planning to do with it while guys try to make opponents submit to various holds. We even get an Arn coming off the top rope and being booted in the teeth spot for good measure. There's another spot where Koloff is bouncing Austin's head off one of the turnbuckles and he practically turns a yellow turnbuckle pad red with the blood.

Finish itself plays into the Zbyszko/Alliance falling out as Eaton's holding Sting so Larry can crack him with the turnbuckle bolt, but Sting moves and Eaton takes the blow right to the shoulder. Once Sting takes care of Larry he goes right to Eaton with an armbar and Eaton submits. Post-match there's major dissention in the ranks and dudes are NOT happy with The Cruncher.

Excellent match, as if it needs to be said. Been a long time since I saw the '87 Wargames match, and I've always been a slightly bigger fan of the '91 match, but this is very likely top 3 for me. This one probably had a better body than the '91 match, and this didn't have Sid calling spots in front of the camera like a sack of shit, but I prefer the opening and final periods of the '91 match. Also prefer the finish to that even if it was a botch and almost resulted in Pillman being dead. Either way, this rules and is an awesome blowoff to an awesome feud.

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