WWE Rise And Fall Of WCW
Written by: Tom Hopkins
Well, I’ve purchased all these WWE DVD’s recently so why not pick this one up, too?
The Main Characters
If you are a great tag team that wrestled for the WWE, WCW or the AWA and you don’t have any problems with Vince McMahon then you will be on this collection.
This spans a very wide range of matches, dating as far back as 1972 right up to 2008.
The Film (1:44:26)
Will this be a hatchet job like the Ultimate Warrior DVD was or will this be as on the mark as the ECW DVD was. We get the usual montage to start off giving a brief history of the NWA/WCW with sound bytes from key people involved in the company’s history. With that montage out of the way we start with Jim Crockett and his father starting off the early NWA in Charlotte and he started promoting wrestling around 1933. This was Jim Crockett promotions and this was the Mid-Atlantic Region, and his northernmost territory was close to where Vince McMahon Sr. promoted. He passed away on April 1st, 1973 and Jim Crockett started running the company. The company thrived under him and Jim really kick-started wrestling by putting his show on Ted Turner. Georgia Championship Wrestling was getting huge ratings on TBS and was used to create other big shows by airing them before or after the show. Crockett brought in great wrestlers including a guy named Ric Flair. Ric Flair would become the NWA champ and he would go on to sell out everywhere he went. Crockett was like a booking agent now for his men, including Flair and Crockett was thinking big, including network TV and Pay-Per-View. Magnum TA even compares the success in Charlotte to being Elvis or the Beatles.
Things definitely got weird on Black Friday, July 14th, 1984. Vince bought GCW and got onto TBS with Ted Turner and bought GCW from under Crockett and NWA. Vince thought it was a good idea to attack from two fronts, both TBS and USA. Crockett thought that was it for the NWA. Fans turned on the show, however, since it was not the wrestling they were used to seeing. Turner doesn’t want Vince on the air anymore and so the contract was reversed and Vince sold it back to Crockett for $1 million dollars (after buying it for only $500,00). Vince used that money to start Wrestlemania. Crockett and the NWA would thrive with the Four Horsemen and their TV timeslot. Crockett would head to other areas (San Francisco, Chicago) and do good business. We talk about Magnum TA and how he was a superstar in the making but unfortunately his career was cut short due to an automobile accident. TBS enabled the guys to work across the world and they made a bunch of money. Flair says they overspent (for example on two planes) and Arn says they over expanded (they should’ve saved by staying on the East Coast) which led to bills piling up. Things just weren’t working financially. In fact, they were $5 million in the hole!
Turner came in and bought the company but he didn’t really have a hands on role. He assigned a new president and the back-stage politicking was very high. The new president, Petrie, even sent Crockett home, firing him. The company had some great talent at the time. The Four Horsemen, Luger, Road Warriors, Midnight Express, Rock N’Roll Express, etc. The matches that these wrestlers had are legendary. Flair could have a match with anyone and Steamboat credits Flair bringing his name to a national level. Jim Herd came in and things went downhill very quickly. He wasn’t a wrestling guy and it showed. Ole was brought in but he wouldn’t change with the times and this led to many clashes with production. Soon Dusty was in and Flair says he was a genius, but he didn’t have the authority behind him to really help. Dusty blames the guaranteed contracts that were being issued at the time. Dusty tried fighting it but he really couldn’t.
Bill Watts was the guy that everyone wanted in after that, since the wrestler’s wanted someone that the booker’s could tell good ideas to and having the guy running the ship knowing what a good idea actually was. Things didn’t go as well as people would’ve hoped. Watts made changes (taking away padding on the outside) but many workers thought that he wasn’t in touch with how the current guys worked. Watts would try to fine people but he wasn’t able to. Watts tried to streamline salaries but again, he couldn’t; they were guaranteed contracts. Watts would clash with the boys and was throwing his weight around but Michael Hayes says the product got boring because of that. Watts was sick of always defending himself and he was soon out of a job. Bill Shaw became the next president and he used the Turner money to add more lighting, stage, pyro, audio and cameras. He also brought in Eric Bischoff to run WCW. Rhodes calls Eric a visionary. Eric would also be willing to listen. He brought the TV show to Disney studios and tape a bunch of episodes in a row. Bischoff also phased out the Clashes to do more PPV’s which was a suggestion of Graham. Hogan was also signed by Bischoff. Ross said that Herd had those conversations with Hogan and Savage but he couldn’t get the money. Bischoff could.
Hogan was signed by Bischoff to be brought into WCW. This made the press and it was a huge coup for Turner and WCW. Hogan won the WCW title at Bash at the Beach and turned a huge profit. Macho Man was brought in, as was Okerlund, all because Bischoff played to Turner that this was how they could beat WWE. Bischoff knew he needed to turn the company into the black and so Bischoff went to Turner. Turner asked what they could do to compete with the WWE. Bischoff asked for a prime-time television spot and Bischoff got it: two-hours live on TNT on Monday nights. That set them right up against WWE Monday Night Raw. Nitro debuted on September 4th, 1995. McMahon saw the first show and thought he had real competition. It didn’t help that Lex Luger, who was in WWE the night before, appeared on Nitro television the first night. Things were ratcheted up on December 18th, 1995 when Alundra Blayze (now Madusa) showed up on Nitro and threw away the WWE Women’s title. Bischoff kept the competition high and set his show apart by actually giving away taped Raw results on his live television show.
Nitro was on the rise and things couldn’t get any higher when Scott Hall showed up on WCW Television for the first time. Scott Hall showed up and brought his friend, Kevin Nash, and they started the Outsider angle. Bischoff had an amazing angle where Scott and Kevin would actually come in pretending to invade WCW on the behalf of WWE. Vince didn’t give guaranteed contracts which are why Nash and Hall left. Hall was still using the Razor Ramon character while Nash still played the Diesel character and so WWE sued WCW for infringing on the Titan trademarks. McMahon does call it a brilliant idea with his 20/20 hindsight (and knowing he won the war). When Hogan joined Hall and Nash and formed the New World Order, things went over the top and WCW would experience success on levels that they’d never seen before. They show the New World Order running roughshod over WCW (including the early vignettes and Misterio getting lawn darted into a production truck). New World Order was planned as a separate organization. Malenko mentions New Japan Pro Wrestling as the big angle that inspired the New World Order angle, something Jericho echoes.
Jericho also says the Monday Night Wars was helped by the appearance of the cruiserweights, especially Malenko, Guerrero, and Jericho. Nitro also had one of the bigger stars of the late 90’s called Goldberg. Bill and Bischoff would see each other in clubs and stuff and developed a friendship. Goldberg was going to sign with WWE but he put in a call to Bischoff and Bischoff called Goldberg at the eleventh hour. Goldberg trained at the noted Power Plant (mentioned briefly here) and Goldberg made his debut in the WCW shortly afterwards, defeating Hugh Morrus. Goldberg praises Bill DeMott for putting him over. Part of Bill’s mystique in the WCW was that he hardly spoke. Goldberg’s angle was furthered thanks to his famous streak. WCW was riding high, beating Raw from June 1996 to April 1998 and at a time holding 5 out of the 7 highest rated hours in cable TV. Bischoff was on his high horse but Jericho says this led to arrogance.
WCW would introduce stars into the ring, with DDP talking about how he met Karl Malone at a Jazz game and he went backstage and offered to show him some moves in the ring. This led to a famous DDP/Malone vs. Hogan/Rodman Pay-Per-View match at Bash at the Beach that led to some big main stream media coverage, including a taping at Jay Leno. Jericho said it was a neat idea but called Rodman a jerk and Malone a pretty cool guy. Jay Leno was also introduced to the show recording an angle where Bischoff and Hogan took over the Late Show. We head back to the Goldberg talk and his record winning streak. Goldberg ended up wrestling Hogan in Atlanta, Georgia for the WCW title, something that WCW gave away for free. Big Show said that Bischoff was just concerned about beating Raw in the ratings that he wasn’t focused on the PPV’s. Ross said they blew a lot of money there. Things were definitely going well in WCW.
Halloween Havoc 1998 was a disaster, though. The show was scheduled for 3 hours and at 11:00pm, when the show was still going on, the PPV company pulled the plug and WCW had to refund millions to angry fans. Kevin Nash was also in the ear of Bischoff and he became the booker of WCW. Jericho says he was way in over his head in this situation. Nash, as booker, booked himself to win the WCW title and end Goldberg’s winning streak at WCW’s biggest event of the year at Starrcade. We move forward to the January 4th, 1999 Nitro: the infamous fingerpoke incident where Hogan won the title from Nash. WCW’s momentum was gone and WCW no longer had a stand-out star. Paul Wight asked for a raise around this time, since he was the biggest heel but was paid 1/6th of what the bigger guys were. When he asked for a raise he was told he wasn’t over enough. Malenko and Jericho mention that they knew they wouldn’t get to another level so they didn’t care or work that hard.
Things got worse when Russo joined WCW. Russo had full creative control there while at least in the WWE he had a filter in McMahon. This turns into a Russo bash fest with Arn even wondering if he was sent by WWE to destroy the company. Kiss was brought in and turned in the lowest rating of Nitro ever and they lowered their expectations even later when actor David Arquette won the WCW title. You might have well as put the nail in the coffin right there. Jericho likens it to the three stooges of wrestling. We get a really weird segment where Jarrett laid down for Hogan at a PPV, leading to Russo and Hogan shooting on each other, with Russo saying Hogan wouldn’t appear in the WCW again. Jarrett was the new star but he never drew a dime. Ted’s company was bought by Time Warner and then by AOL, and Ted really had no say anymore. AOL didn’t want wrestling and they put it up for sale. It turned out that Vince McMahon was called and he ended up buying the company and putting an end to the Monday Night Wars. Bischoff says he didn’t watch that last show, featuring a McMahon promo (the fate of WCW is in his hands) and then an angle where Shane bought the company out from under him. Vince said he didn’t feel an ego boost that WCW folded, but just business as usual. Jericho jokes that he could’ve afforded to buy WCW. Of course, with WCW gone there was no competition and some guys were out of jobs because there wasn’t another place to go. We end with a montage of WCW (dating back to the NWA years) and the great wrestler’s who worked for the company.
This was a fairly straight-forward and honest telling of the rise and fall of WCW. I actually thought this would have been better suited for another hour. I think that more time could’ve been spent on the early days. There was hardly any mention of Harley Race! I guess they wanted to focus just on WCW so we did jump forward to around the early 90’s when they became WCW. I thought that the New World Order segment was a bit short, but given that they have their own DVD that could be a reason. I would’ve loved to see more on the downfall of WCW and what Raw was doing to really put the screws to WCW. I know that you want to keep it just WCW but it is important to show what was going on to cause WCW to start to implode. Their downfall seemed to go by on this fairly quickly, too. I would’ve loved to see more of the crap that WCW was putting out from 99-01 before it finally folded. This was a very brief feature in my opinion and it really could’ve gone another hour and remained interesting. I do have to say that it remained fairly objective and wasn’t on the level of a Warrior hatchet job. The facts were there and it did show WCW in a positive light where it was deserved. This is a recommended episode if you can find it on WWE PPV, but this definitely should’ve been a lot longer.
1) Lost in Cleveland (2:15)
Dusty says he always wanted to do movies and this spurred his Cactus Jack mini-movie. Cactus was missing and Dusty wanted to make him a working man. Dusty says he was spending $100,00 a day in production costs but it was given the boot one day for no real reason.
2) Bill Watts Defends Himself (1:22)
Watts says he was never fired and the racial issue is BS. He says his quote was misinterpreted and shows he wasn’t racist since he had the first black booker, and champion but he had quit before he was fired. Or something like that.
3) Spam Man (0:51)
Harvey Schiller, a former Turner Sports Executive, talks about creating characters for WCW and one of the discarded ideas was Spam Man, and it was presented to the Spam people. Spam 86’ed the idea because they felt they were higher up than wrestling.
4) The Origin of Goldberg (3:39)
Goldberg discusses the origin of the character. He wanted to be called the Hybrid because the name was copyrighted and he would never be able to sell merchandise so he was named Goldberg. He didn’t think that was cool but it was what it was. Goldberg went into a dark match with Fernandez and he needed a strong, impactful, finisher so he just did the spear out of nowhere and that is what they wanted. Goldberg also stole the jackhammer from Malenko and he perfected it on a big guy so he could do it on the Giant. He also discusses his tattoo (it was just free hand), the bald head and his catch phrase (inspired by a waitress). Goldberg was right, it was all simple instances that made up his character.
5) Bischoff Gives Away Raw Results (1:24)
This was just a discussion of pre-taped comments from McMahon and Bischoff about giving away results. Bischoff didn’t care but he said it was kind of low now.
—Disc Two— (3:08:01)
This would be the match portion of the collection.
1) Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A.
This is from NWA World Championship Wrestling and it aired on June 15th, 1985. We start with a Flair promo from that same episode. Flair says he’s better than everyone, including Magnum TA. So Magnum walks out and puts down a $1000 bet that Flair can’t beat him in the ten-minutes. They lock-up to start, and Flair chops away at Magnum in the corner only to get slugged down. Magnum follows with a shoulderblock and a dropkick that sends Flair reeling. Flair lures Magnum in and boots him in the gut before unleashing some chops in the corner. Magnum responds with an Irish whip and a back drop on the rebound. A forearm leads to the Flair flop but Flair catches Magnum with a knee before dumping him to the outside. Ole and Arn Anderson make their way to the announce booth as Magnum blocks a Flair suplex and counters with one of his own for two. Flair comes right back with an abdominal stretch and a whip to the corner. Flair tries a back drop on the rebound but Magnum is wise to him and he small packages him for two. Flair is sent to the corner and he flips over and to the outside. He trips up Magnum from the outside and he attacks Magnum with a double axe-handle off the top. Flair dumps Magnum and follows, sending his arm into the steel ringpost. Flair rolls him back into the ring and works over the arm. Magnum escapes and rolls up Flair for two. Magnum tries a big splash but he lands on Flair’s knees. Magnum gets a backslide for two and after shrugging off a shoulderblock he press-slams Flair for two. Flair is sent to the corner but hangs on as Magnum misses a dropkick. Flair covers for two and then ducks a flying crossbody attempt. Flair heads upstairs but you know what happens next. Flair is slammed off and Magnum locks Flair in the figure-four. Flair is locked in the hold but the time expires at 10:18. Magnum turns his back and Flair tries to attack from behind but Magnum is on to him and responds with an atomic drop. This draws the Anderson’s to the ring and they lay a beatdown on Magnum until Slater & Sawyer come in to help out Magnum. Flair says that Magnum was paying the price there. This was a very fast-paced TV match and Flair made Magnum look very good here. ***1/2.
2) Barry Windham, Sting & Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson
This is from NWA Main Event, but not the Saturday Night’s Main Event spin-off. This aired on April 3rd, 1988. Windham and Tully start off with Windham knocking Tully down early. We hear from JJ Dillon and he’s talking about Dusty being suspended for some reason. Tully tries cornering Windham into the Horseman corner but Windham fights his way back out and we head to commercial with the faces making the heels cower. We cut ahead (commercial break?) to Luger laying out the entire heel faction. Windham comes in with an axehandle and a powerslam before Tully dumps Windham to the outside. Windham comes back in the ring with a sleeper hold but he was too close to the corner and Flair is tagged in. Flair immediately gets caught in a sleeper but Flair back suplexes out of it. Flair misses an elbow but he’s up quickly and he grabs a side headlock which Windham breaks with a headscissor. Flair ends up on top of Windham and the ref counts the pinfall until Windham bridges out. Flair ends up dumped and Flair takes a little break. That was a pretty awesome sequence there. Arn is tagged in and this draws in Sting. Arn is caught in a side headlock which Arn breaks by making the ropes. Sting bodyslams Arn as the announcer says this is the ten-minute mark of the match, though we’re at 5 minutes running time. Flair tries sneaking in off the top but you know what happens. Tully is tagged back in only to get hiptossed out of the corner. Luger is tagged in and he sends Tully to the corner and he ends up on the apron. Luger brings him in and then suplexes him. Luger whips Tully again but charges into a knee. Tully tries a cross body from the top but Luger catches him with a bearhug. Flair attacks Luger from behind to force him to the break the hold. Arn comes in and Luger tries a backdrop, only to get DDT’ed down. He covers but Luger does a power kick-out. Flair comes in and snapmares Luger into position for the knee. Luger is cornered by the three Horsemen and they double and triple team with the best of them. Tully comes off the top with an axehandle to Luger’s back before Luger is dumped. Tully distracts the ref as Flair attacks outside. Luger ends up back in the ring with Flair working him over in the corner. Arn connects with his spinebuster for two. Arn tries holding his hands down for two but Luger starts powering out. Tully is tagged in and hits a neckbreaker. He taunts the face corner which allows Luger to be double-teamed. Arn comes off the second rope with a fist to the face before locking on a front facelock. Luger elbows out of it but runs into the knee of Arn. Flair is tagged in and Flair hits a beautiful suplex. Luger no-sells it and clotheslines Flair down. This allows Luger to make the very hot tag to Windham. Windham cleans house on all three Horsemen. He powerslams Tully but the ref was out of position to count. Windham tries a flying clothesline but Tully eludes it and Windham ends up on the outside. Tully tries to suplex Windham back in but Windham rolls through and covers only to have that pinfall broken up by Flair. This draws in Sting to battle Flair as Arn and Luger brawl outside. JJ Dillon throws in a foreign object to Tully which he uses on Windham and that’s enough to get the pinfall at 12:21. This was an electric match and the fans were really feeling it. The tag formula worked perfectly here and the pace was quick pace was maintained the whole match. The only drawback was that we didn’t see the whole thing! Excellent match. ****1/4.
3) Dusty Rhodes vs. Barry Windham(c) for the United States Title
This comes to us from the Great American Bash held on July 10th, 1988. Windham has JJ Dillon in his corner. We start with Dusty brandishing his elbow and Windham shying away. Dusty breaks a side headlock and shoulderblocks Windham down. Windham bails to the outside for a bit of a breather. You know it’s an 80’s match when you see the next spot: the criss-cross. You further know it is a Dusty match when both guys happen to fall to the mat at the same time. Windham recovers with an attempted elbow that Dusty avoids. Dusty DDT’s Windham before heading upstairs. He actually hits a crossbody for two. That was interesting, Lucha Rhodes? Dusty Libre? Windham takes another breather before Dusty rocks and socks him in the ring. Dillon makes it to the apron only to be elbowed off by Dusty. Windham goes to check on his boss, just like any good employee would. He returns to the ring and slugs Dusty to the outside. They brawl outside and Windham tries a piledriver. Rhodes counters with a back drop and a clothesline. Somehow when we return to the ring it is Windham in control. Windham nails Dusty to the apron and he tries slingshotting him back into the ring only to have Dusty reverse that and send Windham to the concrete. Windham is bodyslammed on the unforgiving concrete. Dillon distracts Dusty, allowing Windham to attack from behind and lock the Claw on Dusty. Dusty is in this for a while. He tries an elbow off the top but Windham deepens his grip and Dusty falls off. Dusty elbows his way out of it and tries a figure four but Windham counters with another Claw. Dusty makes it to the corner and to the second rope. Windham crotches him, breaking his hold, and tries a superplex. Dusty shoves him off (with Windham hitting the referee in the process). Windham heads upstairs but Dusty catches him and tosses him off. Dusty hits an elbow drop and covers but there is no referee. Ronnie Garvin makes his way to the ring for the sole purpose of turning on Dusty and knocking him out with an illegal object. Dusty’s down and Windham puts the Claw on him. With Dusty’s shoulders on the mat the ref counts the pinfall and Windham retains the title at 15:56. After watching the last match this one was extremely boring and most of the match was spent with the Claw. I can never really get into Dusty matches and this is a reason why. He was the slow plodding guy in the WCW while everyone else worked a more up-tempo match. I can’t go higher than **1/4 for this.
4) Ric Flair(c) vs. Ricky Steamboat for the NWA Title
Taken from “Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80’s DVD Review
This is from Chi-Town Rumble, 02/20/89. Steamboat goes for a quick pin but Flair kicks out at two. Steamboat with a headlock, which Flair tries to reverse, but Steamboat reverses that to a roll-up. Flair bails. Steamboat with some chops, then a back body drop, and Flair walks off to the corner. They exchange chops and Steamboat gets the better of that deal. Flair works in a wristlock which Steamboat reverses to a side chinlock, which Flair breaks by sending Steamboat to the ropes. Steamboat slides under then dropkicks Flair, then flips him over in a side headlock for two. Flair tries to roll Steamboat over to cover but only gets a pair of two. Steamboat with some killer chops gets a two and Flair bails again to regroup. Back in and we lock-up. Flair with some chops but Steamboat comes back and sends Flair outside. Steamboat takes over and just hits a beautiful combination of moves that leads to a side headlock on the mat. Flair gets sent to the outside and pulls Steamboat out, and chops Steamboat down on the mat. He slams Steamboat’s head into the metal barricade. Flair elbows Steamboat on the apron then brings him back in, snapmares him in and drops a knee for two. Double arm suplex also gets two. Flair chops the challenger, and Steamboat retaliates, eventually getting the advantage. Steamboat sends Flair to the corner and Flair flips out and over, runs on the apron to the top rope and hits a bodypress, which Steamboat rolls over into a two. Flair comes right back with a figure-four, and Flair uses the ropes behind the refs back for leverage. The ref eventually catches him and makes him break the hold. They exchange chops and Flair body presses Steamboat, sending both men over the top rope. Steamboat is sent to the ring post then suplexed in from the outside. Flair covers and gets a two. Another suplex gets two. Flair with a backbreaker gets two (with Flair’s legs on the ropes). As Flair argues the count, Steamboat rolls up Flair for two. Flair is reversed to the ropes, but Steamboat jumps on the second rope and tries for bodypress, but misses Flair. Flair with a snapmare takeover leads to a nice reversal/pinfall sequence. Steamboat with a double arm suplex and he covers, but Flair’s leg on the rope breaks the count. Flair tries for a hiptoss but Steamboat with another pinning combination for two. Steamboat pounds at Flair in the corner. Flair sends Steamboat to the opposite corner but charges out and clotheslines the champ down. Steamboat with a flying tackle, and he heads to the top. He hits a karate chop off the top rope and Steamboat goes to the top again. He hits a bodypress but also takes out the ref in the process. While Steamboat helps up the ref, Flair rolls up Steamboat, but there is still no ref. Flair tries to send Steamboat to the outside but he hangs onto the top rope. He goes upstairs but misses a splash. Flair goes for the figure four but Steamboat rolls him up in a small package, and another ref comes in and counts the pinfall at 23:18 giving Steamboat the title. What a great match. This is what makes me watch wrestling; to see two guys like this who on top of their craft going all out. There wasn’t a wasted move and that’s what makes this an all-time classic. *****.
5) The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express
These two battled it out at the 1990 WrestleWar held on February 25th. The Midnights have Jim Cornette with them, as usual. Cornette gets on the microphone and called the Midnight’s the REAL express team. Cornette is introduced as the one who stole Ivanka away from Trump and announcer Ross says he didn’t know that Cornette liked girls. Ouch. Robert Gibson starts off with Sweet Stan Lane and Gibson gets an early armdrag and Lane responds with a hiptoss. Gibson shoulderblocks Lane down but Lane complains to the ref. Lane tries a monkey flip only to have Gibson drop a fist into his face. Gibson bails to the outside before getting onto the apron and shoving the official. The official shoves Gibson down causing Cornette to get in his face. The ref backs Cornette down and now Cornette wants to fight the ref. As soon as the ref starts going at him Cornette bails like the wimp he is. Through this, we restart the match with Ricky Morton and Lane. Morton atomic drops Lane into a charging Eaton and both Midnight’s bail again. Lane isn’t happy and he shoves down Eaton. Gibson returns with rights to the face of Morton. Eaton is tagged in but is caught with a pair of armdrags. Eaton and Morton do a test of strength type thing where Morton actually walks up onto’s Eaton’s shoulders and axe handles a charging Lane. Gibson follows with a fist off the top to Eaton. Gibson charges Morton but is booted to the outside. Morton is sent to the ropes only to get tripped up by Cornette. Lane chases Cornette, who hides behind the Midnights. Morton takes care of them with a double noggin knocker while Gibson slugs Cornette down. The Midnight’s bail again. Gibson is tagged in and he armdrags a just tagged in Morton. Morton is brought in and he’s dumped. Lane follows and tries to send Morton head first into the ringpost only to have that blocked. Eaton comes in and they battle back and forth. Morton clotheslines Eaton over the top and both fall to the outside. So Lane runs over and bodyslams Morton to get an advantage. Morton makes it back into the ring thanks to Gibson but the damage is done. Morton takes a back-breaker over the knee and a little double-team work follows. Lane leaps on the outstretched back of Morton and even Jim Cornette gets a shot in. A drop-toe-hold/elbow drop combination follows for two. Morton is suplexed for two. Morton is powerslammed by Lane and Lane covers only to have that pinfall broken up by Gibson. Morton is dumped and he’s dropped throat-first into the railing. Cornette gets some shots in again. Morton comes in and is covered for two but comes back with a sunset flip. However, the ref was distracted by Cornette and didn’t count. Morton tries another roll-up but Gibson tags in Eaton and Eaton knocks down Morton. Morton charges but is dropped into the turnbuckles. Eaton works the arm of Morton but Morton elbows out of it. So Eaton makes the blind tag to stop Morton’s momentum. Eaton hits a flying elbow drop and covers but Gibson wisely breaks that up. Lane works on Morton’s arm and more importantly keeps him away from the Rock ‘n’ Roll corner. The Midnight’s continue softening Morton’s arm and shoulder. Morton reverses a whip to the corner but Eaton bounces off and hits Morton. Lane makes the tag and catches Morton with a side slam. Eaton heads upstairs and they try a rocket launcher but Morton is onto it and he lifts his knees to block. He evades Eaton and makes the tag to Gibson. Gibson cleans house with bodyslams and dropkicks. Gibson rolls up Eaton for two. This draws in Lane followed by Morton. Gibson is sent to the ropes and Cornette just nails him with the racket. Eaton covers for two. The Midnight’s try a double team flapjack but Morton takes out Eaton and Gibson rolls up Lane for the pinfall at 23:27. This was an excellent match with some great storylines going on. The only downside was that the ending was blown (Morton came in too late) but other than that, this was a perfect tag team match. ****1/2.
6) The Midnight Express(c) vs. The Southern Boys for the NWA US Tag Team Titles.
This is from the Great American Bash held on July 7th, 1990. The Midnights attack from behind to start but they are outmatched by the Southern boys early on. They brawl outside and take out Lane before double back dropping Eaton inside the ring. After a little breather Eaton returns to square off with Armstrong. Armstrong gets an early armdrag but Eaton responds with some shots in the corner and a bodyslam. Eaton heads upstairs but he’s caught and press slammed off. Armstrong does a weird monkey flip of sorts that looked like some miscommunication. Armstrong heads upstairs and connects with a flying clothesline. The Southern Boys double-team Eaton with some arm-wringers before chopping him into the Midnight corner for another breather. After that breather Eaton is karate kicked down and so he tags in Lane. They have a fun karate kicking fest which Lane was winning until Smothers caught his foot, swung him around and kicked him in the gut. Eaton comes in and charged only to get superkicked down for the third time in this match. Eaton is brought back in only to get knocked down by a slingshot dropkick that sends Eaton to the outside. Smothers follows with a baseball slide through the second rope. So Lane attacks from behind leading to all four guys getting into the ring, the Midnights getting felled by a double clothesline off the top by Armstrong and the Southern Boys trying to cover both guys at the same time to no avail. The Midnights make a blind tag, the ref is distracted ant Lane tosses Smothers over the top rope, which would’ve been a DQ at the time, and Lane sends him into the guardrail. Cornette follows with a cheapshot of his own. Smothers is now our face in peril and he’s clotheslined down a pair of times in the ring. Lane slams into the back of Smothers and boots at him in the corner. Smothers responds with a superkick to Eaton but he can’t make it to his corner. Eaton slams him down and heads upstairs. He connects on a legdrop before tagging in Lane. Why not attempt the pinfall there? Smothers sneaks in a sunset flip for two only to take a swinging neckbreaker from Bobby Eaton. Lane hits a double underhook suplex for two. Smothers is dumped but he is able to slingshot Eaton to the outside when he’s on the apron. Smothers wards of Lane and makes the tag to Armstrong and he cleans house with a bunch of chops and a double noggin knocker. He connects on a flying shoulderblock and covers but Eaton breaks up the pin. This draws in Smothers who takes out Eaton. The Southern boys hit their trademark dropkick after Lane was hoisted up but the ref doesn’t count, instead clearing the ring of the illegal men. So Smothers heads upstairs only to get shoved down. The Midnight’s hit their rocket launcher but that only gets two. Smothers small packages Eaton and that only gets two. Finally, Smothers is whipped to the ropes only to get booted in the back of the head by Lane. Eaton small packages him and gets the pinfall at 18:14. That was a super hot match and was just extremely well executed. There weren’t any slow spots that plague other matches and the ending was just fantastic. There was one or two moments that looked iffy and that’s the only thing preventing this from being perfect. ****3/4.
7) The Steiner Brothers(c) vs. Sting & Lex Luger for the WCW Tag Team Titles.
This is from Superbrawl held on May 19th, 1991. Lex and Rick start with neither guy able to out power the other. Rick takes down Luger with a go-behind and Luger makes the ropes to break. Luger takes down Rick with a side headlock which Rick headscissors out of. Rick grabs a side-headlock and they make the ropes for another clean break. Rick tries a shoulderblock but Luger no-sells it. Luger powerslams Rick for two. Luger misses a blind charge and Rick follows with a belly to back suplex and a clothesline for two. Rick sends Lex to the corner and backdrops him on the rebound. He sends him to the corner again but this time Lex rebounds with a fucking beastly clothesline. Lex military-presses Rick before tagging in Sting. Sting clotheslines Rick to the outside and follows with a plancha. He brings Rick inside and bulldogs him but Rick no-sells that. So Sting holds Rick in a shoulder backbreaker move and rams Rick into the ringpost. Sting tries for the Stinger Splash but Rick ducks out of the way. Scott is tagged in and hits a double-underhook slam before following with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Sting responds by stungunning Scott and tags in Luger. Luger suplexes Scott and that’s it for him since he tags in Sting again. Sting walks right into an atomic drop. Scott seats Sting on the top rope and hits an overhead belly to belly suplex off the top for two. Scott seats him on top again and tries for a clothesline but Sting ducks out of the way and Scott ends up on the apron. Lex comes in and suplexes Scott in from the apron. Scott ducks behind Lex on an Irish Whip and takes down Luger but walks into a powerslam. Lex tries the Torture Rack but Scott counters with a side Russian legsweep. Rick is tagged in behind Luger’s back and Rick hits a top rope bulldog for two. Sting comes in with a missile dropkick as the ref tells him to leave the ring. Rick makes sure he leaves before he and Luger run off the ropes, collide, and knock each other out. Sting and Scott are tagged in and Sting hits what could loosely be called a fallaway slam. Sting lowers his head but Scott was onto him. Scott tries a tombstone but Sting reverses it into one of his own. Sting covers but Rick breaks up the pin. Luger charges at Rick and takes out the ref in the process. Sting hits the Stinger Splash inside the ring and goes for the Scorpion Deathlock but he sees Nikita Koloff running down at Luger with a chain and he knocks his unaware teammate out of the way, only to get clocked down himself. This allows Scott to cover Sting for the pinfall and the victory at 11:04. The last two minutes really slowed down but before that you had an epic power match with Luger and Steiner and Scott and Sting worked their asses off. ****.
8) Sting vs. Big Van Vader(c) for the WCW Title
This is from the 1992 Great American Bash, held on July 12th. Sting jaws with Vader to start but Vader calmly shoves him away after a lock-up to show his power. Vader does it again but this time he forearms Sting in the corner. Vader connects with a short-arm clothesline that sends Sting reeling to the outside. Sting tries to clothesline Vader when he gets back to the ring to no avail. A cross body attempt meets with similar failure. Sting ducks a charge in the corner and hits a back suplex on Vader and clotheslines him over the ropes to the outside. Vader returns and wants a test of strength which Sting eventually agrees to. However, Sting pokes Vader in the eye and his rights send him reeling to the apron. Sting suplexes Vader in for two. Sting charges but meets the big gut of Vader and is knocked down. Sting blocks a clothesline but holding onto the ropes and he boots Vader down. A small package for Sting gets two and Vader bails to the outside. Sting tries a sunset flip when Vader returns but Vader is wise to it and sits down on Sting to block. Vader tries some elbow drops for one before working the leg of Sting. The time-keeper announces the ten-minute point of the match even though my stopwatch is up to only 9 minutes. Vader puts Sting in his own Scorpion Deathlock. Sting eventually powers out so Vader clotheslines him down. Vader powerslams Sting for two. Sting fights out of the corner and catches Vader with a rolling kick. He follows with a DDT and charges at Vader, sending him to the apron. Vader’s up first, though, and heads upstairs. Sting catches him and boots him off, leaving Vader laying on the ropes. Sting lifts him up onto his shoulders and hits a Samoan drop for two. Vader tries a back suplex but Sting flips out (kicking the ref down in the process) and Sting counters with a German suplex. The ref is just out of position and Vader kicks out at two. Sting boots Vader into the corner and hits a Stinger splash. He kicks him to the other corner and hits another one, but he also hit his own head on the steel ringpost. What an idiot. Sting’s busted open now and Vader tries to capitalize on this by covering for two. Sting tries getting up and swinging at Vader but he misses and Sting just collapses. So Vader powerbombs Sting and that’s enough to win the title at 17:18. This was a decent power match from Vader. I felt it started off way too slowly and it hurt the overall enjoyment of the match but I did like how it built throughout. Vader was really put over as a monster here and he just killed Sting at the end. ***1/2.
9) Rick Rude(c) vs. Sting for the WCW International Heavyweight Title
The Big Gold Belt saga is one of the craziest things that WCW ever did, which is really saying something. Rude is about to say his trademark saying but he’s interrupted by Harley Race, who says that Vader wants the winner of the match. So Race tries to cheapshot Sting but fails, and Rude tries to cheapshot Sting, and also failing. Rude is clotheslined to the outside and bodyslammed down on the mat. Sting slugs down Rude inside the ring. Sting controls with an elbow drop and a headlock. Rude powers out of it and crotches Sting on the top rope before clotheslining him to the outside. Rude gets a belly to back suplex on Sting for two once Sting returns to the ring. Bobby Heenan almost calls Rude the WCW champion before catching himself. Rude puts Sting in a camel clutch but without the arms on his knees. Sting powers out but Rude gets in a victory roll (that is botched) for two and Sting counters (in an equally botched attempt) for two. So Rude slows things down some more by putting Sting in a sleeper hold. Rude breaks the hold for some inexplicable reason and lays in with some WEAK looking rights. So weak are these rights that Sting starts no-selling them. Rude tries to bail but Sting pulls him in by the pants, exposing his ass, and Sting catches him with some atomic drops. Sting clotheslines Rude down a trio of times before backdropping him. Sting sends Rude to the corner, and into the referee who happened to be there, and Sting hits the Stinger Splash. This knocks out the ref, of course. Sting puts Rude in the Scorpion Deathlock and he tries to revive the ref but this allows Race and Vader to run out. Both are laid out by Sting. Rude is up and chop blocks the knee of Sting. Rude sets up the neck breaker and Race tries to hit Sting with a chair but Sting ducks out of the way and Rude takes a chair shot that wouldn’t knock over a 5-year-old. Of course, that’s enough for Sting to get the pinfall and the title at 13:07. This was a mess of a match, with some really weak shots all around and way too many rest-holds. **1/4.
10) Ric Flair(c) vs. Hulk Hogan for the WCW Title.
Taken from “Hulk STILL Rules”DVD Review
This is from Bash at the Beach 1994 (07/17). This was Hogan’s first match in the WCW and he’s looking noticeably trimmer than his usually roided up self. They staredown to start until Flair pushes Hogan. They lockup and Flair grabs a headlock which Hogan breaks with a whip to the ropes and a shoulderblock. They stall around a bit and Hogan mocks Flair. Flair starts to actual wrestler and the Hulk is lost. Flair starts working on Hogan’s arm. It’s like an old WWF episode, there’ Hogan of course but also Sherri and Jimmy Hart at ringside. Hogan does something resembling wrestling so Flair bails and hides behind Sherri. They head back into the ring and Hogan dominates. He goes for the big boot but Flair bails and hides behind Sherri again. Hogan shoves her out of the way but Flair wisely gets back to the ring before Hogan and attacks him as he comes in. Flair chops away as we take a quick cut it appears. Flair goes for a knee but Hulk hulks up. We get another crowd shot as Hogan rams Flair’s head into the turnbuckles. Hogan comes off the ropes so Sherri grabs his leg, allowing Flair to take advantage. Flair chops Hogan to the outside and Sherri tries to attack Hogan with a chair but Hart stops that from happening. They head back in and Flair goes to the top, and actually hits a punch from the top. Flair drops a knee to the bald head of Hogan. Flair starts chopping away at Hogan but Hogan starts chopping right back. Flair begs for a time out then they sort of grab at each other which ends up with a Flair pin attempt, complete with feet on the ropes. Flair grabs a reverse chinlock as we take another look at the crowd. Flair turns the chinlock to a sleeper as we look at the crowd again. Hogan is almost knocked out but somehow manages to revive himself, break the hold, shoulderblock Flair down a few times and start pummeling him. He send Flair to the corner and Flair flips over, ending up running on the apron so Hogan clothesline him out to the ring. Outside, Hogan hits a belly to back suplex. Flair gets to the apron before Hogan suplexes him back in. Hogan goes for the leg drop but Flair rolls our of the way. Hogan starts selling his hurt leg so Flair goes for the figure four, only to get small packaged for two. He tries again but Hogan kicks him off. He tries again but Hogan kicks him off again. Flair stops trying for the figure four and suplexes Hogan instead, but Hogan hulks up. He hits the big boot on Flair and covers, but Sherri pulls the ref out before he can get to three. Flair chopblocks Hogan as Sherri hits a flying splash from the top rope. Flair puts on the figure four which would end the match on most normal circumstances, but this is Hogan we’re talking about. Hogan makes the ropes so Flair has to break the hold. The ref has to push him off for Sherri chokes Hogan with her pantyhose. Hogan tries to get up but his leg is hurting. Flair chops him away in the corner but Hogan hulks up again. All of sudden, Flair’s shots have no effect on Hogan. Flair manages to elbow Hogan down as Sherri goes up for another splash but misses. Flair was at the top rope so Hogan tosses him off, then clothesline the both of them and puts the figure four on Flair. Sherri tries to interfere again but Mr. T brings Sherri to the back. Flair has some brass knuckles though and nails Hogan with them. He covers but Hogan kicks out and hulks up AGAIN! He no-sells more Flair shots and big boot and legdrop finish it at 21:17. Boring match that never got off the ground. **.
—Disc Three— (2:49:07)
1) Ric Flair(c) vs. The Giant for the WCW Title
This is from the April 29th, 1996 Nitro. Did we just skip two years of WCW matches? Flair has Woman and Elizabeth with him, and I guess the rumors were true about him and Liz and Flair wasn’t lying during Wrestlemania XIII. Flair looks for a kiss from Debra McMichael, Mongo’s wife who would go to much larger fame in the WWE for her puppies. Flair chops at the Giant but that does nothing and Flair bails. Flair charges with a chop that has no affect, too. The Giant press-slams Flair and makes it look easy. The Giant misses a charge but shows no signs of being affected by it. Giant tries a chokeslam but Flair holds onto the ropes. The ladies get onto the apron and the ref is distracted and that allows Flair to low blow the Giant. Flair slugs away at the Giant, who is on his knees, but Giant just slugs him down. Flair knocks the Giant down with an illegal object and struts. He puts him in the figure four and the ref doesn’t count the pinfall even though the Giant’s shoulders are down. The Giant props up and grabs Flair by the throat. Flair breaks the hold and the Giant chokeslams him down. He covers and that’s enough to win the WCW title at 5:48. This was really like a big squash for the Giant and there was very little wrestling going on here. Still, the match served the purpose of the Giant looking strong. **.
2) Rey Misterio Jr.(c) vs. Dean Malenko for the Cruiserweight Title
This comes to us from Clash of the Champions XXXIII and it took place on August 15th, 1996. This is billed as a “special rematch.” I wonder what makes it so special? This is the opening bout of Clash, because these are little people and thus their only reason to be on the card is to open the show. I’m glad that Rey dropped the Jr. from his name. He looks so small here compared to what he looks like now. Malenko attacks Rey before the bell and suplexes him before the ref gets on his game and calls for the bell to be rung. Rey is sent to the ropes but he slides to the outside. Malenko follows but Rey heads back inside. Malenko gets to the apron and the two meet there with Rey getting the better of that exchange, sending Malenko into the turnbuckle and to the outside. Rey follows with a baseball slide into a hurricanrana. Malenko returns to the ring where he evades a leap frog and hits a splash for two. Malenko bails and Rey charges but swings around the ropes (in a 619) when Malenko moves. Malenko returns and runs right into a drop toe hold. Malenko is angered and sets Rey up in a powerbomb but falls backwards and Rey’s throat hits the top rope. Malenko hits a brainbuster for two. Rey tries for a sunset flip and Malenko tries punching him in the face to stop the hold only to have Rey move out of the way and small package Malenko for two. So Malenko takes things to the mat with a side headlock and the fans could care less. We step out to a break and return through the miracle of sped-up DVD commercial breaks with Malenko still keeping Rey on the mat. Rey shoulderblocks Malenko and this leads to a cool flippity sequence where Rey gets a cover with a bridge for two. So Malenko responds with a punch to the face and works the leg of Rey. That’s one way to ground him. Malenko sends Rey to the ropes and sidesteps a charge to send Malenko to the outside. He baseball slides him and follows with a senton smash onto Malenko. Malenko sends Rey to the barricade but Rey springboards off the barricade into a moonsault that Malenko literally has to run to in order for it to hit. We head to the ring with Rey connecting on a springboard dropkick for two. He tries for a springboard rana and that also gets a two. Malenko hits a wicked gutbuster off the top rope after holding him in a fireman’s carry and that’s enough to get the pinfall at 9:19. The referee quickly sees that Rey’s foot was on the ropes and as Malenko celebrates with the title he resumes the match. Rey quickly gets a victory roll to finish this at 9:21. That was a really cheap ending to a match that had a lot of flow, aside from the headlock/commercial sequence in the middle. ***1/4.
3) War Games Match
This was the September 15th, 1996 Fall Brawl War Games match between Team WCW and Team nWo. There’s a little nuance to the original rules and that is the two teams will keep their team in the back until the coin flip. The first two men in are Scott Hall and Arn Anderson and they go at it for 5-minutes before the coin toss. Hall starts with rights that Arn reciprocates. Arn quickly sends Hall into the cage and the announce team is clearly on Team WCW. Hall comes back with a clothesline in the corner. Arn starts working the leg of Hall so Hall escapes to the other ring. Hall slugs Arn down but neither guy really can hold their advantage for long. Arn is right back and he grabs a sleeper. Hall back suplexes out of it only to walk into an Arn spinebuster. He works a single leg crab as (no surprise) the New World Order wins the coin toss. The next guy out is Kevin Nash and now it’s two on one. Arn meets Nash coming in, ducks a clothesline, and slugs away. Hall holds him still and Nash hits a big boot. They continue double-teaming until the next guy comes out. Lex Luger is out, 15 seconds early mind you, and he goes after the Outsiders. He sends them both into the cage and clotheslines both of them down. He hits a flying clothesline on both, too. Arn squares off with Nash and Luger takes on Hall, until they switch. Arn is sent into the steel but he DDT’s Nash anyway. Hulk Hogan is the next guy out and he’s double-teamed by Luger and Arn. Well, until Nash and Hall recover. Ric Flair is the next man out for Team WCW and he tries luring the others to his side of the ring. Hogan obliges and he gets the first shots in, but Flair responds with an illegal object, and a low blow to Nash and Hall. It’s Vintage Flair! All three get knees to the groin from Team WCW and Flair even puts Hogan in the figure four. Sting is out next and he bulldogs Luger down and the New World Order is back in control. The announcers mention something about Team WCW not having a fourth member and the person was attacked before the show. Hmm, could someone in the ring turn for Team WCW? Flair gets his face smashed into the cage courtesy of Hogan. Hogan hits the leg drop on Flair and he’s done. Sting hits the Stinger Splash on Arn, Luger and Flair as the time expires in the last period. Another guy runs out in Sting face-paint, and now it’s obvious the last New World Order guy in was not actually Sting but an impersonator. Sting hits the Stinger Splash on Hogan and Hall, and then on Nash and the fake Sting. Team WCW still has trust issues with Sting, not trusting him and just staring at him before asking if that was good enough and bailing. Hogan hits the big boot on Luger and the legdrop but he decides not to cover. Hogan follows with a back suplex so the fake Sting can put him in the Scorpion Deathlock. Hogan follows with a reverse chinlock and Luger has no choice but to submit at 18:15. The response was very lukewarm there. They had a right to be, this just wasn’t an exciting War Games and there was a huge let down when Sting decided to bail. So get the logic here, Sting shows he’s not a traitor to WCW by attacking the New World Order guys, but then leaves them to be defeated. Really? Doesn’t that now make him a traitor to the cause to see his side lose? Anyway, this was punching and kicking and didn’t have anywhere close the energy one of these matches should have. **1/2.
4) Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero for the US Title in a Ladder Match
Taken from the WWE Classics.com August 2009 Review
This is from the Souled Out PPV held on January 25th, 1997. I think this was a New World Order PPV with basically all the NWO guys going over. Eddie blindsides Syxx to start but Syxx quickly gets the upper hand. Syxx tried for a tilt-a-whirl but Eddie falls down and Syxx sort of stands there looking like an idiot. So they repeat the spot with Eddie getting a head-scissor and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker that sends Syxx outside. Eddie follows with a top rope splash. We head back in and Eddie misses a blind charge leading to a Syxx spinning heel kick from the top rope. Syxx sets up Eddie for the Bronco Buster and he succeeds in slamming his crotch into Guerrero’s face. Eddie dropkicks Syxx to the outside as Bischoff says Syxx is a real black belt unlike Steven Segal or Jean Claude Van Damme. Syxx gets to the apron and Eddie tries to suplex him in but Syxx reverses and Eddie is dumped. Syxx follows with a somersault plancha. Syxx gets the ladder and he needs the help of one of the crew to get the ladder into the ring. Eddie catapults the ladder using the ropes and it slams into Syxx’ face. Eddie slams the ladder into the back of Syxx. Syxx recovers and it is his turn to use the ladder. Eddie is suplexed and Syxx scales the ladder before opting not to. He folds up the ladder and rides goes upstairs and wants to ride the ladder down onto Eddie. Eddie dropkicks the ladder and Syxx is crotched. Eddie superplexes Syxx and sets up the ladder. They both climb up and both take a spill off the ladder. They head up again and Syxx punches Eddie off but as Eddie falls he knocks into the ladder and Syxx falls off, too. Both men climb up the ladder and both are able to unhook the title. They battle over it and Eddie uses the belt to knock Syxx off and gain the title at 13:48. the New World Order announcers are pissed and they want to get this ruling reversed because Eddie used a foreign object to win. This was a really unspectacular Ladder Match in my opinion with a couple of blown spots early on and only one or two really cool high spots. It was a decent ladder match but nothing ground-breaking. ***.
5) Eddie Guerrero(c) vs. Dean Malenko for the UC Title in a No-Disqualification Match
Taken from the WWE Classics.com December 2009 Review
This is a No-DQ match from WCW Uncensored 1997. The date on the WWE website is wrong, but a quick Wikipedia check shows it was held on March 16th. This should be a step-up from the last match. The two shove it out to start with Eddie shoulderblocking Malenko down. Guerrero wraps Malenko in a headlock and pounds at his head, sort of like Nolan Ryan did to Robin Ventura. Malenko breaks and responds with a shoulderblock of his own. That sends Eddie to the outside. Eddie takes a breather before re-entering into the ring. Malenko stomps at Eddie in the corner (with Dusty whipping out the mudhole reference). Malenko suplexes Eddie and trash talks him as he’s down on the mat. Guerrero doesn’t like that and so he stomps a mudhole into Malenko, with Dusty giving a monologue about mudholes. Eddie charges Malenko and he’s slung into the corner. Malenko hooks on a half crab as we look into the locker room with Rick Steiner getting knocked out by the New World Order. Malenko works the leg and covers for two. Malenko tosses Eddie over the top to the outside. That would usually be a DQ but this is no-DQ. Malenko brings the US Belt into the ring and slams it into Eddie’s ribs. Malenko lariats Guerrero down for two. Malenko tries another lariat but Guerrero catches him and side suplexes him down. It’s time for Guerrero to get into Malenko’s face. He steps on his face and dropkicks Malenko’s leg. Guerrero slams the leg into the apron before heading upstairs and hits an axe-handle on the knee. Guerrero stomps at the knee and does a slingshot splash onto it. Guerrero continues working the leg as we see Rick Steiner getting taken away on a stretcher in the back. Malenko reverses an Irish Whip and he sends Guerrero to the steel barricade. Malenko has trouble getting up and this allows Guerrero to dropkick the knee. Guerrero puts Malenko in a figure-four. When Malenko doesn’t tap Eddie uses forearms to soften him up. Eddie tries a slingshot splash but he lands on his feet and baseball slides Malenko, who exited to the outside just before, into the barricade. Eddie heads to the top and leaps at Malenko but Malenko side-steps him and Guerrero’s ribs hit the barricade. Malenko brings Eddie back in and work on the arm and shoulder but Eddie shrugs that off and hits a backbreaker on Malenko. He follows with a powerbomb into a bridge for two. Malenko low blows Guerrero so Guerrero responds and small packages Malenko for two. Eddie runs into a powerslam and Malenko heads upstairs. Malenko hits a frog splash and covers but he picks up Eddie at two. Malenko tries a powerbomb but Eddie headscissors out of it. Guerrero runs into a tilt-a-whirl slam. Eddie tries an Oklahoma Roll for two. Malenko connects with a German suplex for two. Guerrero responds with a Tornado DDT off the second rope. He doesn’t cover but instead puts Malenko in the Texas Cloverleaf. Syxx makes his way to ringside and steals the US title belt. Eddie catches Syxx by the hair to get the belt but he tosses the video camera into the ring. Malenko cracks him with the camera and Malenko covers to win the US title at 19:13. This was okay. It had some psychology (both guys targeting a body part) that was forgotten by the end. The ending stuff was cool, but the match seemed to lack a certain excitement that you would expect between these two. ***.
6) Chris Jericho(c) vs. Juventud Guerrero in a Cruiserweight Title vs. Mask Match
This is from Superbrawl VIII and it took place on February 22nd, 1998. It’s weird that Juvie would put his mask on the line with no repercussions for Jericho. Of course, I wrote that after reading the liner notes. Turns out that this is for the Cruiserweight title. It is hard to imagine that Chris was just a Cruiserweight at this point and only 3 years later he would be the first ever Unified Title Holder in the WWE. They lock up, with Chris still wearing the belt, and they break clean. It looks like Chris is going to wrestle with the belt on tonight. Juvie flips out of an arm-wringer but hits a roundhouse kick into the gut. It was supposed to hit the belt and cause Jericho to take off the belt but it looked like it hit him in the gut. Juvie connects with a nice looking spinning heel kick before grabbing a reverse chinlock. Jericho adeptly sneaks out of it. Juvie hits a springboard “body attack,” which was just a nice way of saying a blown spinning heel kick. Juvie follows with a springboard rana off the top to Jericho while he’s on the apron. Jericho stays knocked out on the mat, even though he’s just pretending, so he can be counted out. So Juvie runs out and elbowdrops him before rolling him back into the ring. So Jericho boots Juvie in the corner and tries a German suplex. Juvie flips out of it but is clotheslined over the top rope when he charges. Juvie rolls to the apron and that allows Jericho to hits a springboard dropkick that sends Juvie to the mat. Jericho follows with a bodyslam to the mat before setting up the steel steps in front of Juvie. Jericho charges off the ring steps to use as a springboard but Juvie catches him and stuns him on the barricade. Juvie tries a springboard splash in the ring but Jericho catches him and hits a spike tombstone for two. Jericho knocks Juvie down and does the arrogant cover for two. Juvie sneaks in a victory roll for two before he’s kicked down. Jericho suplexes Juvie and hits a back splash on Juvie for two. Juvie tries a rana off the top but Jericho catches him and falls back. Jericho heads upstairs but he’s dropkicked off the top rope and he falls down to the outside. Jericho wanders around as Juvie sets up, and hits, a springboard splash off the top. Juvie hits a sit down powerbomb before hitting his 450 splash. He covers and gets the pinfall but the ref sees Jericho’s hand on the ropes and he explains to Jericho that the match will continue. So Jericho cheapshots Juvie from behind and clips the leg. Juvie sneaks in a roll-up for two but he’s clotheslined down quickly. Jericho tries a powerbomb that Juvie reverses into a DDT for two. Juvie sets up Jericho on the top but Jericho shoves him off. Jericho leaps off and right into an atomic drop. Jericho is set up on the ropes and Juvie hits a springboard rana for two. Jericho slams down Juvie but Jericho misses the lionsault. Jericho tries the Liontamer but Juvie rolls out of it into a cover for two. Juvie tries a rana but Jericho catches him and puts him in the Liontamer right in the middle of the ring. Juvie has no choice but to submit at 13:03. Jericho gets on the microphone and thanks his Jericholics and tells Juvie to take off the mask. Juvie takes off the mask and Jericho pulls it away, revealing his face to everyone. That’s sort of anti-climactic here in America, seeing as no one cares about the mask legacy and stuff. The first six minutes of the match were really boring but it really picked up during the last 7 minutes with some really cool reversals. I don’t know why they needed a false-finish here (with two on the DVD to boot!) but whatever. There’s some good stuff to this match. ***1/2.
7) The Steiner Brothers vs. The Outsiders for the WCW Unified Tag Team Titles.
This is also from Superbrawl VIII. The Outsiders have Dusty Rhodes with them for some reason. Hall gets on the microphone and takes a survey of the crowd. It turns out they are there to see the New World Order, and not WCW. Rick and Scott are both wearing one black and one white boot. That’s odd. Scott has cut off his hair, looking more like his roided up self that he would become in the latter years of WCW. Ted DiBiase is in the Steiner’s corner. Rick and Hall start with the crowd decidedly behind the Outsiders. Hall throws his toothpick into the face of Rick so Rick slugs him down. Hall tries a shoulderblock that goes nowhere and he takes a clothesline in response. Rick belly to bellies Hall down and slugs at him in the corner. Rick follows with an overhead belly to belly release suplex. Nash runs in only to get clotheslined to the outside. Rick gets on all fours while Scott gets behind him like they normally do, and then Scott turns on Rick, axe-handling him in the back and taking out DiBiase. They celebrate in the ring and Hall covers for two. Rick gets double-teamed in the corner and he tries fighting back but he’s sent to the ropes and Nash clubs him in the back of the head. Hall tries for his Outsider’s edge but he can’t get him up. He tries a second time and this time it works. Hall covers at 4:16 and the Outsiders are your new Unified Tag Team title holders with Scott Steiner now in the New World Order Fold. That was one of the quickest turns I’d ever seen. Usually the guy who is turning will fight his opponents for a while before turning. In fact, Scott did nothing here at all except deliver a couple of axe-handles. The match sucked, but it was a good addition to show just what it was like during this time with all the turning on each other and joining different factions. *.
8) Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone vs. Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman
I remember watching this way back when. It was at the Bash at the Beach PPV and it aired on July 12th, 1998. I remember ordering this PPV just because of the main event. Malone and Rodman are very tall, but not nearly as muscular as the wrestlers. Probably because they aren’t using steroids. Malone and Rodman had played for the NBA title about a month before, with Rodman’s Bulls taking out Malone’s Jazz in 6-games. Rodman and Malone start, with Rodman getting his classes taken off by Hogan. Rodman quickly ducks to the ropes and I think we’ll have a stall-o-rama here for the most part. Malone calls for a test of strength and when Rodman puts his hand up Malone slaps it away. Folks, two minutes in and I can hardly portray all the action that is going on. Rodman gets a side headlock that Malone breaks by sending Rodman to the ropes. Rodman rolls to the outside and they stall. Rodman returns and tags in Hogan and he and Malone pose to each other. Malone grabs onto Hogan in a sort of headlock move, and Hogan tries getting to the ropes but he keeps getting pulled back. Malone bodyslams Hogan and celebrates like he bodyslammed Andre the Giant. DDP is tagged in and he calls for Rodman. Hogan obliges and in comes Rodman. They lock up and Rodman is shoved down. The fans see this match is going nowhere and start chanting boring. That lock-up/shove down spot was so awesome the two do it again and it is more stalling. The two spit at each other, too. Rodman arm-drags Page and Page gives him a little bit of a nod there. Page grabs a side headlock and Rodman sends him to the ropes to break and the two collide. Rodman gets a headlock now, but Page throws him down and covers for two. Page hooks on a side headlock and Rodman breaks by sending him to the ropes and the announcers praise his ability to leapfrog. They collide again and Page covers for two. Malone is tagged in but Rodman quickly slithers to his corner and tags in Hogan. Malone breaks a wrist lock by shoving Hogan down and Hogan argues with the ref. That allows Rodman to attack Malone from behind with a double axe-handle. Hogan slugs him down and chokes Malone. Hogan bodyslams him and drops elbows to the chest of Malone. Rodman comes in with some elbow drops of his own and then he sends Malone into Hogan’s extended boot. Hogan is tagged in and covers for two. Hogan slugs Malone down and again covers for two. Hogan hits a back suplex but misses an elbow. This allows Malone to make the hot to DDP. He comes flying in with a clothesline to Hogan and slugs Rodman off the apron. Rodman gets on the apron and knees Page from behind after Hogan reverses an Irish whip. Hogan whips Page with his weight belt. Page is clotheslined down and covered for two. Hogan sends Page to the corner and follows with a clothesline. Hogan suplexes Page for two. Rodman comes in and they send Page to the corner a few times. Page fights out of the corner but he can’t make the tag. Rodman holds a front chinlock and Page manages to make the tag but Hogan distracted the ref and he didn’t see it. Hogan hits the big boot but misses the leg drop. Page makes hot tag to the Mail Man and Malone clotheslines down Hogan, and clotheslines down Rodman. He bodyslams both Hogan and Rodman, and it wouldn’t be a corny Hogan match without a double-noggin knocker. Malone connects with a big boot and Page comes in with a Diamond Cutter on Hogan. Rodman charges in but takes a Diamond Cutter courtesy of Malone. Malone chases Rodman to the outside and in the confusion the Disciple comes in and hits Page with a stunner. That’s enough for Hogan to get the pinfall at 23:43. Malone comes in and gives the Disciple a Diamond Cutter, followed by giving the ref a Diamond Cutter. That was definitely the wrong booking there. The match was absolutely terrible to begin with way too much stalling, but would it have been too much to send the fans home happy by seeing Malone and Page win?
9) Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page for the WCW Title
This is from the fateful Halloween Havoc 1998 PPV that aired on October 25th, 1998. This would be the PPV that cut off because it went too long and the match was re-aired in its entirety the next night on Nitro. The two jaw to start and Page charges with lock-up attempts, only to get shoved off each and every time. The two charge each other and they both fall to the outside. We head back in and Page tries to trip him up, but Goldberg lands on his feet. Goldberg works a cross arm-bar and Page makes the ropes to break. Page tries a Diamond Cutter but he’s shoved to the outside. Page stuns Goldberg over the top rope on the way in and he sends Goldberg to the corner before tripping him up with a side Russian legsweep for two. Page doesn’t control long as Goldberg overpowers him with a suplex-slam and a side slam for two. Goldberg locks on another cross armbar, but Page makes the ropes again. Page gets rana out of nowhere but Goldberg is up quickly and superkicks Page into the corner. Goldberg charges and tries a spear but Page avoids that and Goldberg’s shoulder hits the post. Page hits a flying clothesline off the top once Goldberg makes it back to the ring for two. Goldberg does a one-armed slam, but it’s with his bad arm which he was just selling. Page is up first and calls for the Diamond Cutter but he walks right into a spear. It was with the bad shoulder so Goldberg is down, too. Goldberg is up first and he tries the Jackhammer with only one arm, but he can’t get Page up in the air. He tries a second time but Page reverses it into a Diamond Cutter. Page is slow to cover but he does, and Goldberg kicks out at two. Page tries a suplex but Goldberg reverses that into the jackhammer for the pinfall at 10:29. Page and Goldberg do the bro-hug thing after the match. That was a well-paced match with Goldberg doing a good job selling the injury and I like how it played into the remainder of the match. Goldberg won, but he looked vulnerable thanks to Page and both guys came away looking great. ***1/2.
10) Booker T vs. Lance Storm for the WCW Title
This is from the August 7th, 2000 Nitro. This is an odd match to be included here. Lance Storm has three titles with him, both plastered with the Canadian Flag. Lance gets on the microphone (If I can be serious for a minute) and says he will become an all-time Canadian great here, like Wayne Gretzky, Donovan Bailey, Doug Flutie, and Warren Moon. Lance awaits the playing of the Canadian National Anthem but it’s Booker T’s music that hits instead. Booker T shoulderblocks Lance down as some guy walks to the ring with ham sandwiches. WTF? Booker T slugs away at Lance only to have Lance dropkick his knee. Booker falls to the outside and Lance follows with a springboard splash. It turns out the ham sandwiches are for Mike Awesome’s large lady friend who is at the announce table. Booker suplexes Lance back in the ring. Lance goes for the Maple Leaf early but Booker kicks Lance off. Booker hits the axe-kick and the spin-a-rooni. A round house kick gets a two for Booker. Booker kicks Lance to the corner but Lance lifts a boot when Booker charges. Lance tries for a splash off the top but Booker catches him and powerslams him down for two. Lance rolls through a Booker slam and he locks him in a Maple Leaf (a single-leg Crab). The crowd try to get Booker back into the match with a USA chant. Booker manages to get to the ropes but he walks into a superkick. That doesn’t knock him down though and Lance walks into a spinebuster for two. Booker heads upstairs and hits a missile single-leg dropkick for two. Guess that knee healed up pretty quickly! Lance knees that sore knee but Lance walks into the Bookend to end this at 5:25. Well, the action was back and forth the whole time which made it exciting but it was too short to be considered anything special and Booker not selling the knee hurt. Jeff Jarrett comes out and attacks Booker’s knee which leads to a match we’ll never see on this DVD and not see paid off. Jarrett smashes the flag pole of Lance onto Booker which causes Lance to go after Jarrett. Jarrett tries smashing Lance with the guitar but Lance moves and the big lady friend takes the guitar shot. Awesome chases Jarrett back into the ring and into a bookend. Why was this on here again? **.
This is the standard Fullscreen/Dolby Digital 5.1 offering WWE usually puts out. It sounds great and it looks great and that’s all you need. WWE always gets high marks here.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is a big fold-open DVD case with the standard liner notes containing the match listings.
D) Easter Eggs
None on this collection.
We start with the usual array of WWE commercials (WWE Classics on Demand, The Marine II, WWE Home Video, Starrcade DVD, something for the National Guard, and of course the Don’t Try This At Home message). Disc Two and Three also have Don’t Try this at Home spot, too. This seemed a lot shorter than normal, with less than three hours of matches on disc three and less than two hours of material on Disc One. Granted complaining about 8 hours may seem odd but based on other collections WWE put it out, it just seems like this collection was short-changed. I do wonder how these matches were chosen. I understand not having Starrcade matches (since there’s a whole collection of those already) and not having any Benoit matches for the latter part of the collection but it appears that there was a lot that was glanced over. It seems that earlier NWA stuff was glanced over for more later matches. Speaking of latter matches, there were huge gaps of time missing. There was nothing from 1993, nothing from 1995, and nothing from 1999. and for some reason there’re TWO matches from Superbrawl VIII. Any omissions aside, Disc Two was simply awesome in terms of what was presented, with some amazing tag matches and a lot of matches that were at or hovering around *****. Disc Three had the greatest amount of, “why were these on here,” matches. However, I do think it was a fair (not great) representation of what WCW was doing at the time. There were Cruiserweight matches (though heavily focused on Malenko, Jericho and Guerrero), New World Order matches, and a Goldberg match. Some of the bigger matches were passed over because they were on other DVD’s before so I can forgive that. Thankfully, almost all the matches were clean, which was a rarity at the time! I thought it was a well-represented collection and definitely worth a look.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever