On the last review I said big changes were coming soon, and I wasn’t kidding!
Intro: Tony and Jesse reveal the news that RON SIMMONS is the world heavyweight champion and JAKE THE SNAKE is in WCW.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Dick Slater
Dustin takes forever to come out and looks really unenthusiastic. Slater is already in the ring. Hardly the level of intensity for a feud where one guy tried to break the other guy’s leg. They exchange holds, punctuated by a few punches, for a boring couple of minutes. Even Tony and Jesse can’t be bothered to feign enthusiasm. Eventually, Greg Valentine comes out and holds down Dustin’s foot on a suplex attempt for three. Ole Anderson comes out and reverses the decision and Rhodes rolls up Slater for the pinfall. Dull, dull, dull.
WCW Magazine (w/Eric Bischoff): Focus on the Barbarian, with clips set to his entrance music (reused from the Diamond Studd, who was Razor Ramon in the WWF by this point).
Beautiful Bobby and Arn Anderson vs. Larry Santo and Scott Allen
Talk is on Doc and Gordy having made a deal with Paul E to take care of the Steiners for them while they’re in Japan. That would go part of the way somewhere with a change of leadership. Bobby takes Allen’s head off with a clothesline and gets his Angle slam-like Samoan Drop. Double A finishes with the spinebuster. You knew you were watching the masters when you saw these guys.
WCW Magazine: Recap of the Ricky Steamboat/Steve Austin confrontation from last week. I forgot to mention Ricky’s apricot polo shirt and powder blue shorts. It’s a good job he was one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, otherwise his wimpy moments would be all the more glaring.
Flyin’ Brian vs. George South
South attacks before the bell, so eats some stiff chops and bounces all over the place in return. Pill is apparently booked for matches with the Barbarian, doubtless doing jobs, so that heel turn was definitely needed. Jesse even foreshadows it with some talk about his bad attitude. Pillman experiments with some spinning kicks before finishing with a dropkick and jackknife pin.
Interview: Tony talks to the Junkyard Dog about his recent drama with the Big Cat and how he subsequently helped save him from a beating from the Vegas Connection. They’ll talk about forming a team when they have time. Let’s hope not.
Vinnie Vegas and Diamond Dallas Page vs. Tommy Angel and Steve Pritchard
Under the Cowboy regime, Vinnie has lost his baggy shirt. Scary to think that these guys and Scott Hall would have a hot angle on their hands via the nWo when they couldn’t have less heat if they were buried in Siberia. DDP rips off Randy Savage’s running neck snap before they finish with a flying shoulderblock/legdrop combo while Warrior and Hogan roll over in their imaginary graves.
WCW Magazine: Nikita wants the US title. Well, “I want” never gets.
The Ross Report: Good Ol’ JR is handling this bit of business. Nikita had Rick Rude beat for the US title at a TV taping in Baltimore when Cactus Jack came out to interfere, so Sting, on commentary with Jim for the match, ran out to help, swinging a chair like mad. With his back turned, Jake Roberts slipped over the guard rail and attacked the Stinger from behind. JR is in his “HE DOESN’T EVEN WRESTLE HERE!” glory here and the crowd is white hot throughout, knowing they’re seeing something special. Jake nails Sting with two DDTs ON A CHAIR, then threatened to sic the snake on him before the entire babyface locker room comes out for the rescue, with Barry Windham preparing Sting as if he’s got a neck injury. Jake gets a great bit where he drops a crucifix on Sting from his leather gloved hand before going for the python. In a neat unmentioned aspect, Grizzly Smith is out as one of the officials while his son wreaks havoc. Mega debut for Jake, but it was all downhill both run-wise and career-wise from there.
So, Sting is out of his scheduled rematch with Vader that night, so Bill Watts invites the top contenders present out to put their names in a sack. Rick Rude isn’t one of them, but he makes a big song and dance out of it before his name is put in. The winner, of course, is Ron Simmons. Ron drops to his knees upon the announcement of his name. Cowboy says they’ll give him a bit of time to prepare, but Big Ron says if it’s going down let’s get it over with. You can tell the already hot crowd are getting worked up more and more masterfully.
Vader comes out the defence, with Simmons going punch for punch with him. Eventually, Vader regains the advantage and prepares to finish with the powerbomb. Ron flips over, Vader goes running towards the ropes and back in for a charge, but gets caught with a massive powerslam, going flying on landing, and Ron wins his first and only world title. The roof blows off the building, with legendarily a black kid in a blue t-shirt running from the fifth row to ringside and jumping for joy for a minute and crying his eyes out. The other babyfaces, and finally his mentor Dusty Rhodes, come out to celebrate with him. Words can’t describe how special this ENTIRE extended angle felt at the time, and now, but much like Jake it was all downhill from here too for Ron, and they were back to Sting and Vader by ’93. Ron gives his humble victory speech with Tony backstage.
Next week: Jesse tickles Tony with his feather boa and has a conspiracy theory regarding Vader and Race being cheated. Ron Simmons will be in action next week as the world champion.
The Bottom Line: The first half of the show is just passable, but the second half with the big event recap is must-watch TV for fans of WCW in ’92 with all the happenings on that hot August night. Beautiful stuff.