Sunday, 30 January 2011

So It's 1992 WCW And I Can't Think Of A Catchy Title

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Steve Williams & Steve Austin (Halloween Havoc, 10/25/92)

Austin is subbing in for Gordy here, although I'm not entirely sure why (I *think* it was because Gordy had left the company by this point). Crowd fucking sucks the big one, unfortunately. I mean, this is a 30 minute match, and outside the last couple minutes it sounds like they give a shit all of two or three times. Lots to like about this, but I could see someone thinking it went longer than it needed to and dragged and such. It starts out with Dustin and Williams doing a bunch of really fun "football" spots, my favourite of which being them assuming the three point stance and making to shoulderblock each other, only for Williams to leapfrog Dustin and then clock him with a big clothesline. The Williams/Dustin match-up was my favourite part of this; every time they were in the ring together I expected something good to happen. Both Windham and Dustin take spells playing face in peril here. Windham's a guy I generally like a lot in that role, but I didn't think he was quite hitting the high notes like he usually does. Dustin is one of the best face in peril guys in history and he was tops in that role here. Williams is especially great at dishing out the beating on him, giving him these awesome blows to the kidneys that sounded real nasty. At some point Dustin picks up a cut over his eye and Doc starts laying into him with these killer punches right in front of the camera. The booking at the end here is pretty shitty, though. This isn't the crowd you want to do a time limit draw in front of to begin with, but to make it worse with stupid booking is... well, stupid.

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes v Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (Clash of the Champions 21, 11/18/92)

This is the Windham heel turn match and I don't think I'd ever seen it before. And it's good, unsurprisingly. Both teams are babyface going in, but Windham seems way more surly and pissed off than usual right from the jump and is in no mood for Steamboat or his little buddy. The opening Dustin/Douglas match-up establishes a sort of parity, but they don't do any of that pansy stand-off nonsense that you see all the time these days with the contrived "we're equals"/stalemate spots. Then Barry and Steamboat get in and they struggle over a hiptoss and wind up both rolling out onto the floor where they start shoving each other and they're ready to punch the other guy in the fucking face. The young guys try to keep the lid on the whole thing because this is a clean contest between friends. Except fuck that because Windham and Steamboat have been around the block a time or two and like the idea of lighting each other up with chops more than working hammerlocks and giving clean breaks. Eventually Douglas hurls himself throat-first across the top rope on a missed crossbody and we're off to the races with Dustin and Barry working him over. Douglas as your FIP continues to be a super role for him -- he sells everything great, his timing on hope spots is good; you can tell he's been hanging around with Steamboat for a minute. When Steamboat gets the hot tag things to go south for the champs. He and Dustin have a really cool exchange where they both get a handful of quick nearfalls, then Steamboat goes for a leapfrog and Dustin, because he's big and lanky and can't duck down as quickly as the littler folk, winds up headbutting Steamboat in the little dragon. I always love the accidental low blow spot and this was one of the best I've seen. Steamboat really sells the shit out of it. Dustin is conflicted; he doesn't know whether to go on the attack or wait until his friend has recovered, but Barry is going nuts on the apron telling him to attack. Dustin's really good as a guy that wants to do the right thing, but is caught between a rock and a hard place because whatever he chooses to do is either gonna fuck with his tag team partner or fuck with his good buddy. Barry plain doesn't give a shit and tags himself in and starts working over Steamboat's nuts and we have a winner for the gayest thing I've said this week. He hits a couple inverted atomic drops and looks at Dustin like "do THAT, motherfucker" and Dustin is horrified. "The fuck, man? I thought we were fightin' the good fight?" Eventually Dustin decides he's had enough, breaks up a Windham pin attempt and that starts a shoving contest which escalates to a bitchslapping contest which then escalates to Dustin decking Barry with a punch. While all of this is going on Steamboat's managed to crawl over and make the tag, and Douglas comes in and catches a dazed Windham with a belly to belly to win the belts. Steamboat's still selling emasculation on the apron like a total legend. Post-match has Barry going postal on Dustin before laying out the new champs with a chair. I didn't think this was among the top tags WCW had in '92, but it's comfortably in that "second tier" where even then you're looking at some really fucking good stuff.

WCW 1992 Project

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