WrestleWar has now passed! These two episodes are not available in their entirety, so it’s just a review of the available matches from both shows. Should have the full shows to review as I get up to date with Scott’s Saturday Night reviews, then I’ll post subsequent reviews as he does.
From May 23rd…
Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Paul E Dangerously) vs. “The All-American” Ron Simmons
Both guys here were in a position where they couldn’t really job, so you knew there’d be a dodgy finish. Strange to think that this nothing match would involve two guys that five years later would have a tiff that sparked off probably the biggest match in wrestling history with Austin vs. the Rock. Test of strength to start, with Austin holding his own, but cheating when things start going the wrong way. Austin stands on Simmons’ stomach and does the tomahawk chop – Simmons calmly gets up and picks him up by the throat. Slow match otherwise that makes no threats to speed up. Simmons misses a dropkick to give Austin the advantage again. Backbreaker and vertical suplex. Irish whip reversed and into a powerslam for Simmons. Paul E distracts and slide a chair in. Austin gets it, but Simmons take it off him and hits him with it for the DQ. Shit match. Austin goes on to face Ricky Steamboat in the first quarterfinal.
Larry “The Cruncher” Zbyszko (w/Madusa) vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes
Larry was already in the bad books with Paul E, and hitting Bobby Eaton with the turnbuckle rod to put him in position to submit at WrestleWar and lose War Games only further sullied his name, so things were tense between him and Madusa here. After a feeling out process, Larry gets the advantage with kicks, a suplex and a slam. Keeps control through attempted comebacks with a side headlock. Elbow to the gut breaks it, but Dustin misses an elbowdrop as Jesse bitches about Fonzie the referee. Comeback proper with elbows and a lariat. Larry’s swinging neckbreaker attempt is reversed into a backslide. Fucked up back bodydrop gets the advantage back for Larry. He stops to argue with Madusa, then goes to finish with the brainbuster and Dustin small packages him for the win. The story here was Larry’s frustration boiling over about his diminishing role in the DA, leading him to lose. Didn’t make for much of a match, though. Dustin goes on to face Rick Rude in the second quarterfinal.
In other matches: Terry Taylor defeated Kenny Kendall and Big Josh and the Junkyard Dog defeated Tony Mello and Randy Starr.
From May 30th…
The Super Invader (w/Harley Race) vs. Carl Robertson and Eddie Martin
The debut of one of my old favourites, Hercules Hernandez, as a ninja from Thailand. He’s back on the juice again after getting out of shape towards the end of his WWF run. Wears a robe that looks like a bin bag. Red stocking over his face for a mask with a Japanese headband. Red gauntlet on the right wrist with a multi-coloured glove with pointy fingers on the right hand. Half black and half red singlet with long legs. Towards the end of his run, and possibly the cause of the end of his run, the gear was ripped to shreds and virtually threadbare. When he came out and did his last match on TV, a job to Shane Douglas, he basically looked like Herc with a red tint over the screen. I love Hercules, the maniac!
Race draws out Martin so that Invader can dump Robertson. Superkick for Martin followed by an elbowdrop. Tony speculates that the long lock of hair from Invader’s mask is a tail from a donkey, sending Jesse off on a tangent about eating dogs. Powerbomb for Martin. Race has been beating on Robertson outside the ring, but rolls him back in, and he gets a powerbomb too. Invader pins both at the same time as Jesse has moved onto cockfights as one of his old war stories now. You can see what they were going for with Super Invader, with the black and red outfit and mask and the powerbomb as a finisher and vague Oriental background, but instead of being a smaller Vader he ended up more like car boot sale Vader.
The Diamond Studd vs. an unknown
The match is joined after the introductions, but the jobber looks like a small Terry Gordy. Studd reverses a hip toss with a chokeslam. The jobber tries a dropkick worse than anything Erik Watts could muster, but the Studd just holds onto the ropes and disgustedly walks past it. Studd was just killing time until he left for the WWF. Belly-to-back suplex off the top, and the Diamond Death Drop finishes. Hall was just about there with his work in the ring, but the Studd character was a loser and he needed something like becoming Razor Ramon to finally give him that last bit of confidence in the ring.
Ravishing Rick Rude (w/Madusa) vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes
Austin and Steamboat went to a draw in the first quarterfinal, so the second quarterfinal here becomes THE final match of the tournament. I think they just lost interest in the tournament. Nintendo better take back that sponsorship money! However, it’s now been upgraded to the SUPER Nintendo Challenge Tournament. Meltzer would’ve only been interested if it was the Super Famicom Challenge. The camera cuts to a crowd shot when Rude does his “Hit the music!” bit and poses to Jesse Ventura’s and my frustration. Rude is wearing bizarre tights this week with blue, pink and purple patches on them with SEXY in yellow letters on the backside. I wasn’t going to mention it, but Tony pimps the latest WCW magazine, which has a poster centrefold of Rude with pictures of his different tights around the border. Nothing slightly gay about that… I think I had that poster up for at least six months next to the Paul E Dangerously dartboard.
Rude and Dustin exchange hammerlocks to start. Even just holding a hammerlock Rude is fully flexed. Dustin gets a suplex to weaken Rude’s back and goes to a rear chinlock, sitting on his back. This was a trademark Rude spot, because normally a rear chinlock is a move used by heels so that the babyface can power up and lift them to ram or drop them backwards, but Rude would let guys do it so they could stand up, jump and land with their arse on his back to flatten him out, then do a hip swivel, as Dustin does here. He also adds in a few pelvic thrusts that Goldust would find disturbing. Jesse’s a bit embarrassed that he’s doing that because he doesn’t really have the body for it! He suggests then that Madusa go and show him a bit of leg to grab his attention. One ass bump too many leads to Dustin’s balls meeting Rude’s knees to sway it his way. Inverted atomic drop added to worsen his troubles, and Rude tries to wiggle his hips in another one of his classic spots, stopping because his back is too hurt!
Rude hits a swinging neckbreaker, his old Memphis finisher, for two, but it’s an odd choice to use a move so close to your current finisher. Rude goes to a chinlock, Dustin fights out, tries a monkey flip (there goes the monkey!), but Rude holds onto the ropes to bounce him off, then hits a terrific clothesline that Dustin does his trademark spinning bump off. Single axehandle off the top for two. Dustin knocks Rude silly with some punches, prompting a funny walk back and forth across the ring, but gets hit right in the balls and goes flying. Every man in the audience felt that! Rude goes to finish with a tombstone, but Dustin reverses in an impressive show of strength and just drops him. Foot on the rope saves it for Rude at two. Dustin misses a clothesline and goes flying out, where Madusa kicks him in the chest. However, sunset flip back in. Rude goes to punch Dustin and hits canvas, gets hit with a jawbreaker. Rude loses sight of Dustin, who hits him with a bulldog, but Madusa has the ref distracted. Rude grabs hold of the US title while Rhodes gripes with Fonzie and whacks him with it out of sight. Rude Awakening to add injury to insult for the win. Not an all time classic, but still a very good match with a young Dustin and Rude in his prime showing some of what they did best.
In other matches: New WCW TV champion Barry Windham defeated Joe Cruz, but was distracted during the match by Paul E Dangerously and attacked by Steve Austin after the match with the belt. Dustin Rhodes came out to save. The Steiner Brothers defeated Rick Thames and Sonny Trout (later known as the Southern Posse).
Tomorrow: Back to full episodes!