Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WCW Starrcade 1992

BattleBowl Matches

1) Van Hammer/ Dan Spivey v. Cactus Jack/ Johnny B. Badd- 3

The problem with this match is Jack and Mero trying to set up their turn on each other and it was so obvious. Hammer looked decent here, especially with Foley selling for him, even though they bungled a whip in. Spivey made Foley eat a couple big boots for dinner and overall, while not having any real cohesion as a match, everything was very physical.

2) Dustin Rhodes/ Vader v. Barbarian/ Kensuke Sasaki- 5

I reiterate, PHYSICAL! That sums this match up. Barbarian and Vader test each other's manhood and just bruise each other with fists and feet while also botching at least 3 spots; they finally tag out and Rhodes and Sasaki are game to move the pace and also get real pissed at each other and it works. Sasaki suplexes Vader in the best spot of the match and this is loads of fun with everyone getting real Mid South on each other.

3) Brian Pillman/ 2 Cold Scorpio v. Great Muta/ Barry Windham- 5

This random assortment of talent is also a great representation of NHO Hall of Fame because each guy has been inducted. Windham and Scorpio just have it with each other, they sink armdrags in and really pull through on them and it looks good. Muta sells as if he's awaiting a crash pad behind him sometimes but he sinks in a lethal kick to 2 Cold's throat and always makes strange facials. I like that Windham and Pillman start chopping each other because of the competition aspect of the match, then realize they will be partners later and stop. 2 Cold tries a 450 springboard in a crazy spot and damn near pulls it off. This is a very fun match.

4) Steve Williams/ Sting v. Jushin Liger/ Erik Watts- 4

Sting and Liger start off and the crowd is popping like Muhammed Ali just walked out. Huge ovation to see these two lock it up, and now that I think about it, don't think I've ever seen it either. Sting and Doc work great tag strategy here by keeping Liger in the ring in their corner for most of the match, utilizing timely tags. I was very surprised by the psych they employed. Watts gets a few spurts of offense on Doc, but nothing that matters. The match seems long because they don't put Liger away, just keep punishing him but it's completely inoffensive and I'd rather watch Liger sell than Watts even with the mask on.

5) Great Muta v. Masa Chono- 6

Muta looks really worn down but he damn near goes 20 minutes with Chono in this exhausting ground affair. Chono's white trunks are a nice visual change and Muta in the purple is a palette I like on him; the blue ring makes for a dull background but enhances the performers look. Don't know why I'm obsessed with the colors in this match; maybe because I've been eating Fruity Pebbles all week. Muta decides to go to the ground with Chono, which Jim Ross establishes as Chono's domain, being the master of the STF. Chono isn't high on the list of great sellers and some of Muta's strikes seem to bounce right off of him like a bullet off Superman's ass. Chono sets the pace and basically wears Muta down enough to apply his dreaded submission to get the victory. This is a different style of match but one that has some merit and gets a bonus point for making it unique.

6) Ron Simmons v. Steve Williams- 4

Two big tough college football pros mix it up here because Rick Rude was sidelined with an injury. He comes out in a denim jacket 3 sizes too big for him and tells Simmons he's lucky. Surprisingly, Doc and Simmons start with side headlocks. They both look strange trying to apply basic wrestling holds on the other because they're both so stocky. You'll see a great number of shoulder tackles during this match. Simmons shows that his explosiveness was one of his better attributes earlier in his career and pounces Williams a few times. Both men have strange looking strikes, but I still wouldn't want to be their practice dummy. You could see some unfamiliarity during the match as a few things look a little raw and the finish was basically a cop out for not having anything thought up, as they went to a double countout.

7) Ricky Steamboat/ Shane Douglas v. Barry Windham/ Brian Pillman- 7

This was a classic old school tag match in every sense of the word. It had a familiar formula and all parties carried it out to the tee: early face clear the ring spot, then heels gain advantage through trickery, work over weaker face for a while, then strong face comes in and also gets beat on, then weaker face makes big comeback and finally gets the win. Douglas was pretty good being the recipient here and took some nasty spills to the outside which, as Jim Ross explained was "particleboard covering up the ice hockey rink underneath." Ouch. Windham and Pillman when it was time, bumped all over for the face team and Steamboat was extra fired up against Windham because he had attacked him in the locker room with a chair. Ricky shouldn't swing a chair though as he gave him a chair shot right out of Lance Storm's playbook; I'm guessing Ricky jr. in his little green dragon outfit could swing a chair harder. Anyways, this was a nice refreshing change and has me clamoring for the long lost art of tag wrestling to once again resurface in our current scene.

8) Sting v. Vader- 8

When you think about the great rivalries through the years, don't think about those manufactured feuds that didn't add up to shit like Taker-Kane, or DX-McMahons, think about this one: Sting-Vader. This is as physical of a match as you will ever find in the US. Sting takes huge heaping spoonfuls of potatoes and gets pulverized but so does Vader: YES!YES! YES! I'm marking out like Dean Moriarity and I feel like I want to drive to Frisco on $13 after seeing such inspired performances. Sting's offensive spots are so huge like a German suplex and a DDT from the top rope and Vader sells them like a huge man with long, dangly balls and even Harley Race on the outside is saluting his professionalism. Sting's eventual comeback never really materializes and it feels more real that way. These guys created a rivalry that truly does stand the test of time.

9) Battle Bowl Battle Royal (participants: Van Hammer, Dan Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, Vader, Great Muta, Barry Windham, Steve Williams, Sting)- 5

Generally speaking, battle royals aren't technical masterpieces but they can still be fun to watch if you have a good mix of guys in there punching away. This one had some decent hands involved and it started out with a bang as Vader tackled Sting over the top rope onto the rampway in what best resembled a minor accident off SR-129. Rhodes and Windham were duking it out for quite a while too and Spivey looked to be trying to stiff people although he wasn't in too long. The end came down to Muta and Windham to set up for their eventual program and the pace slowed to a crawl as Windham just methodically took Muta apart until the Japanese legend fired off with some dropkicks causing an over the top sell from Windham to propel him to the outside. Overall, this had the feeling of an important show from the opening video package to the announcers shilling the event to the grand fireworks display and that's what Starrcade was supposed to be for WCW even though in later years it's importance seemed to equal that of a deceased pigeon on the side of the road.

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