Friday, 24 February 2012

1992 WCW -- When I Thought the Well Was Dry...

Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham v Greg Valentine & Dick Slater (Power Hour, 8/1/92)

Yeah, this was good. Slater looks like Jeff Jarrett circa 1996 only a little more bloated. I've never really "got it" with Slater. He's not bad or anything, but any time I see him I kind of feel like I'm watching someone playing Terry Funk. He does a decent enough Terry Funk impression, but I usually watch Slater and find myself wishing I was watching Funk instead. Slater has nice Funk-isms, but nobody has better Funk-isms than Funk. "You can buy that knock-off Rolex, but people will know. You'll fool nobody. Before long you'll wish you had the real thing. But you can't afford the real thing because you're bloated and you look like Jeff Jarrett." Valentine looks pretty much exactly the same as he did in '79. He takes his awesome bump where he stares off into space for a few seconds before falling flat on his face. Has the internet given that bump a name yet? Is it the Valentine Flop? "When a blond haired ruffian falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" Steamboat plays FIP here and you can imagine how that goes. Valentine and Slater clubber and Steamboat sells like he is who he is. I don't remember Greg throwing a ton of chops, but there was probably a Valentine/Steamboat chop exchange in there somewhere that ruled. I'm assuming this was supposed to be a six-man tag, because before the match Barbarian is out with Slater and Valentine but gets told to hit the bricks, turning it into a 2-on-2. Dustin would've been Steamboat and Barry's partner, but he's got a busted up knee and couldn't even make it out. Well eventually Barbarian comes out anyway and slams Steamboat on the floor, so Dustin hits the scene to even things up. When he gets in there he cleans house on one leg, throwing bionic elbows as Greg, Slater and Barb try to circle him like a pack of hyenas. When Valentine locks in the figure-four, Steamboat grabs the towel and his milking of throwing in the towel is classic dramatic Steamboat.

The Steiner Brothers v Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (Worldwide, 9/26/92)

I'm not sure how many matches these guys had together in '92, but this feels like the "weakest" of the three I've seen (Beach Blast and Clash XIX being the other two). Well, maybe not. The Clash match is definitely better, but this is sort of an abbreviated version of the 30 minute Beach Blast match. It takes a lot of the good from that (BEEF, clubbering, dudes getting tossed around) and, because it's only 12 minutes, eliminates some of the downtime. Rick Steiner throws a total bomb of a clothesline. He always does. When he hits it on beefier guys it sounds like someone took a baseball bat to a slab of meat. Scott plays FIP here and there's a spot where he tries to roll to his corner to make the tag, and Williams, who's on his knees, cuts him off by shoulder tackling him right in the jaw. I liked the finish to this, too. Rick gets the hot tag and things start to break down, but he still manages to pair off with the legal man (Gordy). Williams hits a bridging German suplex on Scott, but as he does that Rick hits one of his own on Gordy for the win. I had no recollection of the tag titles changing hands on TV, but it made for a pretty great moment.

Rick Rude v Erik Watts (Worldwide, 12/5/92)

Man, Rude's promo before the match is so great. He calls Bill Watts a piss ant and rips on his kid for being shitty. He's a boy in a man's world, and Rude is the manliest of them all. He even forgoes the "Shut you mouths while I take my robe off and show you all what a real SEXY MAN looks like" bit at the start and just calls Watts a lowlife punk kid instead. This is a total Rude show. Watts is completely fine and makes nice comebacks and sells can't really ask for much more out of him in a situation like this. He does everything he needs to do and he does it well...but Rude just carries himself like such a fucking badass pro. He is a guy that gets paid to kick the shit out of people, and when he gets to kick the shit out of punk kids whose daddies are piss ants, he takes a certain degree of enjoyment in that. There's no posing and fuck around; this is business and the Watts family is on his shitlist. I've wrote in the past about how Rude really perfected that "hierarchy formula" in '92. This is another example of it. It's not as good as the Dustin and Pillman matches (the two matches I'd say highlight that formula best), but Rude's performance is about as strong in all three. He gave Dustin a good amount of their match because Dustin wasn't far off being his equal. Dustin came out of it looking great and there were points where you could believe he'd win. Pillman was a bit further down the card when they had their match, so he didn't give Pillman as much as he gave Dustin, but he gave him enough. Pillman came out of it looking great and there were points where you could believe he'd win. The gap between Rude's spot on the card and Watts' spot on the card is much bigger, so Rude hardly gives him anything. Watts comes out of it looking great just for hanging as long as he did, and there were STILL points where you could believe he'd win. It's a huge testament to Rude that he'd eat about 20 seconds of offence the whole match and still come across as someone that was in danger of being upset. And it's not like he destroyed his credibility in the process, either. I finally settled on Rude being the best in the world in '92 a while back. This just strengthens his case.

WCW 1992 Project

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