Tryout: Amine’s Top 50 WCW matches of all time!

Hi Blog of Doomers!

I am Amine, and as the title suggests, these are my picks for the 50 best WCW matches. In November 1988 Ted Turner bought Jim Crockett Promotions and WCW was born. As a 34 year old, born and raised in NYC, I will never forget the day the cable guy came over in August 1992, and suddenly I had access to PPVs, “Saturday Night” and “The Main Event.” Prior my only WCW access was “Worldwide” which sadly only aired at midnights on Sunday mornings.

WCW played a massive role in my wrestling fandom. I watched WWE just as much, but for some reason I always preferred WCW. I think deep down I liked rooting for the underdog.

For this list I have applied three main criteria, in this order:

1/ Workrate

2/ Historical Significance

3/ Personal preference

I have re-watched each and every match on this list over the past few weeks (some twice), and at least 40 other matches that didn’t make the cut. It’s really been a lot of fun, as I hadn’t seen most of these in years, and many great memories were brought back to the surface. I hope this sparks some cool nostalgic conversation on the blog.

Of the many matches that didn’t make the cut I have two Honorable Mentions that break my heart not to include, but sadly they aren’t better than #50:

– The Hollywood Blonds vs. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson (Clash of the Champions XXIII)

– Juventud Guerrera, Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr. vs. Psychosis, La Parka & Villano IV (Bash at the Beach’97)

Now…. THE LIST!

Amine’s 50 Greatest WCW Matches of All-Time

****1/4 MATCHES

50. Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon (Bash at the Beach’97)

We start off with a little talked about Cruiserweight Title match from a BatB PPV main evented by Dennis Rodman. While Rodman didn’t shit the bed, as usual for nWo-era WCW PPVs the main events sucked, and the undercard was Da Bomb. Jericho had just won the Cruiserweight Title from Syxx to become the first WCW wrestler to win back a title from the nWo. He was really starting to come into his own from mid-to-late-1997, leading to his eventual big break in early 98 with the heel turn that would get him over for the rest of his career. Amazingly he is not only still wrestling, but thriving. With this match, it certainly didn’t hurt that he was in the ring with arguably the best worker in the world at that time, and this is a fabulous display featuring tons of innovative counters, near falls and quality action. The main flaw with this match is the utterly dead crowd, but otherwise this is a hidden gem.

49. Juventud Guerrera vs. Blitzkrieg (Spring Stampede’99)

This was the opener to the last WCW PPV that could be described as great, two full years before their demise. This match is a non-stop, balls to the wall, aerial onslaught, with both men trying to outdo the other, and a crowd that got progressively hotter with each move. There is little to no psychology to speak of, and a few sloppy moments, but overall you have to take your hat off to these two for laying it all out, and for taking all kinds of risks with their bodies. The finish is especially memorable as Guerrera put Blitz away with a Juvy Driver from the middle ropes! Wild stuff.

48. Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (The Great American Bash’96)

Historically speaking this one is right up there with any match on this list, as it marked the mainstream debut of Mysterio, one of the most influential wrestlers of any generation. Malenko dominates most of the match on the mat, slowing down the action, but when Rey gets his hope spots in, he absolutely wows the crowd. Psychology-wise, Malenko works Rey’s arm but it goes nowhere, and in fact Rey ignores it during his comeback, keeping this one from MOTY status. Still, an awesome debut and match.

47. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (WCW Saturday Night 5/14/94)

This was a rematch of their Spring Stampede main event, after which the World Title was held up by Commissioner Nick Bockwinkle due to a double pin. Thus some consider to this an official title win for Flair, others don’t. It doesn’t really matter, as these two longtime foes get one final classic in front of a receptive Center Stage crowd. This 35-minute affair has all the great Flair-Steamboat spots we know and love, but it lacks the big time feel of their other classics, and the finish is utterly flat as Flair casually pins Steamboat after accidently head-butting him low on a leapfrog attempt. Their final televised match occurred two months later on “The Main Event” (the Sunday evening show for those youngsters reading), but that was a nothing 15 minute sprint with Sherri interfering throughout. For all intents and purposes, this match is the last one of note in their 17 year rivalry.

46. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs. Hollywood Blonds (Clash of the Champions XXII)

Technically they weren’t yet the “Blonds,” but who cares. Steamboat and Douglas were feuding with Barry Windham and Pillman until Windham decided to go for the World Title, offering up Austin as his replacement. And thus a legendary tag-team was born. The Blonds were famously held back by WCW management, which had its hands tied by the disastrous Disney Tapings which gave away title changes MONTHS in advance. From January to August 1993, the Blonds gave us an insane amount of quality entertainment (“A Flair for the Old!”) and some wonderful tag-team matches. This is the best of those, a great fucking tag team match to kick start a months-long feud with Steamboat/Douglas. Some people may prefer the Blonds match with the Horsemen at Clash 23, or the title change on Worldwide, but I much prefer the fluid pace, and non-stop action of this one.

45. Ric Flair vs. Flyin’ Brian (World Championship Wrestling 2/17/90)

YouTube my friends, YouTube. Meltzer gave this one ****1/2 back in the day, but I only saw it for the first time while making this list, and man oh man is it a hot match. This takes place right after Flair turned heel, and Sting tore his ACL at Clash 10. Pillman challenged Flair earlier on this episode, and we got a classic out of it. Jim Cornette said in one of his shoots that Flair specifically asked to work with Brian on this episode, and it’s no shock why. The crowd is smoking hot, the chops are lethal, and the match is a blast. I deduct ¼* for Pillman ignoring Flair’s work on his leg and flying around right after, but that’s a minor quibble.

44. 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Chris Benoit (SuperBrawl III)

Let’s get this out of the way: Benoit is going to be all over this list. I am not one of those who has a problem separating person from worker. The person did unspeakably horrific things. The worker is one of the best to ever do it. If you have a problem with that, I get it, but that’s my stance. This was a battle of up and comers, as Scorpio debuted at Clash 21, and Benoit at Clash 22, both getting over with their respective crowds. Here they work a classic style, with both variously holding the advantage, and both looking awesome throughout with state of the art offense. The crowd, initially apprehensive, is going nuts by the end. This has a unique finish (in theory) as Scorpio pins Benoit at 19:59 of a 20 minute time limit. In actuality the timing is more like 18 total minutes because… WCW 🙂

43. Lex Luger vs. Ricky Steamboat (The Great American Bash’89: The Glory Days)

After Ricky Steamboat’s famed 1989 run with Flair ended he only had two more matches of any note before leaving due to a contract dispute: a very good match with Terry Funk at Clash 7 that missed out on this list, and then this carry-job of Luger. Don’t get me wrong, Luger was smack dab in the midst of his best era as a worker, and certainly holds his own, especially in terms of his heel interactions with the crowd. But this was the Dragon Show. They only went 10 minutes (!) and yet Steamboat was able to make this something special with his quick-paced offense, and his selling of Luger’s offense. They cut a great pace, and pack this short match with action. The ending blows though, as Steamboat gets DQ’d for using a chair. Luger refused to wrestle under “No DQ” before the match, so Steamer acquiesced. From a character POV it’s hard for me to accept that Steamboat would be that stupid to get himself DQ’d, but others may say Luger was smart enough to goad him into it. To each his own, but this is clearly the best Lex Luger singles match not against Ric Flair.

42. Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Ohtani (Starrcade’95)

Although Starrcade was considered the biggest show of the year for WCW, the 1995 edition didn’t feature Hulk Hogan at all, and was treated as a concept show. “The World Cup of Wrestling” featured 7 WCW vs. New Japan matches with bragging rights on the line. This was the best of those matches, and a great sign of things to come in the cruiserweight division. These two worked a total Japan style of match and hooked a Nashville crowd not used to this type of work. Eddie and Ohtani pulled off great highspots, interspersed of excellent mat work, with crowd-popping near falls sprinkled in. Ohtani in particular was such an effective heel here.

41. Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (WrestleWar’90: Wild Thing)

These two teams had a long, amazing rivalry, probably the best one ever involving tag teams (with the possible exception of the Hardyz-E&C-Dudleyz feud). After these two squared off in a Skywalkers Match at Starrcade’87, the RnR left the NWA for two years. It was during those two years that Beautiful Bobby, Sweet Stan and James E. Cornette planted their flag as arguably the greatest tag team of all time. They turned babyface in a famous short-lived program with Tully & Arn, enjoyed their only World Tag Title reign, and eventually turned back heel, although fans still cheered the shit out of them. EXCEPT against the RnR. This match may be the best one these two ever had, encapsulating all the hits: the RnR dominate the first few minutes leaving the Midnights in disarray until Ricky makes a fatal flaw leading to a face-in-peril segment par excellence where the Midnights show off all their kick-ass double-teams. This one also has a neat moment where Jim Cornette and referee Nick Patrick square off.