(Editor's Note: Former NHO contributor Jessie reached out to me about doing a series of fantasy booking tournaments inspired by the PWI 500 lists of yesteryear. Enjoy! - Brian)
1. Shawn Michaels defeats Sting via pinfall (12:19). Great kickoff to this year's World Cup. In an upset, Michaels polished off last year's runner-up in the finals Sting after cracking him with a savate kick then executing his finishing back suplex.
2. Ric Flair defeats Steve Williams via pinfall (8:51). Williams had Flair begging off with the big power early. Flair started utilizing all his dirty tactics but it was well-concealed brass knuckles that lead to a KO shot for the crafty Nature Boy to advance to next round.
3. Bret Hart defeats Nikita Koloff via submission (9:44). Hart looked phenomenal in this opening round contest. Last year, winner Road Warrior Animal smoked Koloff, and this year he was systematically dismantled by the Canadian 2nd generation prodigy. Nikita tapped and on his way to the locker room a frenzied fan threw his VHS copy of Red Dawn him before being escorted from the venue.
4. Jerry Lawler defeats Steve Austin via pinfall (6:24). Brash Austin wasn't ready for veteran savvy. Lawler poked eyeballs, pulled those blonde locks, and compressed Austin's neck with a disgusting piledriver to advance.
5. Ultimate Warrior defeats Scott Steiner via pinfall (4:38). Warrior was shot out of a canon. Pure adrenaline. He steamrolled the equally muscular Steiner. At one point Warrior blocked a Frankensteiner attempt and turned it into an airplane spin that lasted 20 rotations.
6. Rick Steiner defeats Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat via pinfall (9:12). In a rematch from last year's opening round bout, this time the Dog-Faced Gremlin bested the Dragon. Ricky still had success in bursts but Steiner had a focused attack with more sheer force behind his big throws and suplexes. To make sure to slay the Dragon Steiner won with a devastating belly-to-belly overhead suplex into the turnbuckles crumpling Steamboat.
7. Rick Rude and Barry Windham went to a double countout (10:30). These two seemed to bring the pit bull out of the other. What started as a snug in-ring clash spilled to the floor. The brawl entered into the crowd as they exchanged big punches among the wild audience. Windham's hair blowing back after eating a right cross. Rude doing the stanky leg, a cross-legged wobble after being belted with a left uppercut. They ended up brawling over to the concession stand where Rude sprayed a bottle of mustard into Barry's eyes then picked up the soft pretzel warmer and crashed it over his head. World Cup officials then broke up the melee. Dave Meltzer slipped in some Diet Pepsi but no sold it.
8. Vader defeats Randy Savage via pinfall (8:09). Many gamblers ripped up their tickets as Savage garnered a lot of support by betters and bookies. He took the fight to the scary Vader but the monster was nonplussed. Vader nearly decapitated Savage with a lariat at one point. Harley Race donned Savage's trademark shades in mockery. Vader won with a huge powerbomb. Savage was stretchered out but put up a thumbs up to let the crowd know he was okay.
9. Ric Flair defeats Shawn Michaels via submission (19:13). Michaels idolizes Flair but didn't hold back. However the Dirtiest Player in the Game had too many tricks up his sleeve. At one point Flair begged off and Michaels pointed at his unmentionables in what some at ringside called a "crotch chop". And chop it Flair did -- nailing a knife-edge chop to the junk. When Flair locked in the Figure Four the young Texan was forced to tap like Bojangles.
10. Bret Hart defeats Jerry Lawler via submission (5:27). Hart hit a suicide dive to the floor completely crushing Lawler against the guardrail. Hart brought The King back inside the squared circle and proceeded to work over the legs before locking in a Sharpshooter for the victory.
11. Ultimate Warrior defeats Rick Steiner via pinfall (7:11). Warrior had a more difficultly with Rick than he had with Scott. Warrior seemed dazed by Steiner's non-stop forward momentum and finally in frustration hoisted him up in a gorilla press slam but walked up toward a corner and dropped him out ribs-first onto the steel ring steps below. Rick barely made it back in before the 10 count was rendered only for Warrior to do multiple running big splashes onto his mid-section.
We cut to a Vader and Race in a luxury skybox as it's announced he has received a buy. Harley Race eerily had his face painted like Warrior.
12. Bret Hart defeats Ric Flair via submission (18:45). Back-and-forth battle but Bret would not be stopped. The match ended as Hart reversed the Figure Four causing Flair to scream he quit locked in his own trademark maneuver.
13. Vader defeats Ultimate Warrior via pinfall (7:20). We'd never quite seen fear in Warrior's eyes like tonight when he couldn't faze the monstrous Vader. The ref inadvertently took a spill which allowed Race to slide Vader's massive mastodon helmet into the ring. Vader gave his deadly powerbomb to Warrior onto the helmet which shot off big flumes of smoke into the air as Warrior's body crumbled over it.
14. Vader defeats Bret Hart via pinfall (13:55). Race had his face painted like last year's winner Road Warrior Animal. Bret does a baseball slide kick under the bottom rope taking Harley out. Vader tries to smash Hart outside the ring but Bret dodges leaving Vader to eat the ringpost cracking his head open. As Vader starts shooting plasma out of his head Hart peppers him with shots but Vader grabs Hart by the skull and headbutts him so hard Bret drops like a sack of potatoes. And potatoes were definitely on the menu as Vader stomped and punched the Hitman like a vicious mugging. Harley sucker punches Stu Hart in the front row. Back in the ring Vader goes for the powerbomb but Hart locks in a triangle choke. The ref lifted Vader's hand twice but on the third time Vader scooped Bret and powerbombed him, dropping him directly on top of his head. Vader put a foot on a lifeless Hart as the ref counted the fateful 3.
Location: philadelphia, PA
Breakdown: WCW 8, WWF 5, New Japan 2, USWA 1
Opening Round (15 min time limits)
Match #1: (no. 1) Sting (*2nd) v. (no. 16) Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri)
Result- It was an impressive showing for the youngster, taking Sting to the limit; with Sherri's help of course. But, the Stinger hit a string of big moves near the end right before eating an errant superkick to the side of the face. Michaels went for another one and Sting caught it and strapped him into a Scorpion Death Lock for the win in an exciting opening to the tourney
Match #2: (no. 3) Ric Flair (WWF Champion)(w/ Razor Ramon)(*2nd) v. (no. 14) Steve Williams (*2nd)
Result - This became a challenging enviroment for Flair as Doc was not playing around and was trying to dump him on his head every chance he got; with a Razor distraction, Flair took out the leg and worked it over for a bit- when trying to get a tapout win, Doc powered out of it and Flair had enough and took a walk and headed back to his locker room then onto a limo and a night of paryting- Doc wins by coutnout
Time of match: 12:34
Match #3: (no. 5) Bret Hart v. (ALT) Nikita Koloff (*2nd)
Result- The Hitman takes his time preparing, gifting his glasses to a young fan outside; Koloff looks listless; Bret pretty much dissects the big russian for most of the match, giving some offense over and even takes a Russian Sickle but rolls out of the ring afterwards; Koloff slowly gets him in but Bret escapes. After a boot in the corner and a bulldog from the 2nd rope, he locks in the Sharpshooter for the submission win
Time of the Match: 9:58
Match #4: (no. 7) Jerry Lawler (UsWA Tag Team Champion)(*2nd) v. (no. 10) Steve Austin
Result - Both men jaw with each other for a minute or so and the match begins; some boring dips out of the ring and the match has barely begun before Austin brings in the Tag Title to try and clobber Lawler but the perennial villain has his knucks ready to go and clocks Austin for the win but the ref catches him and he gets dq'd. Bad, bad match
Time of the Match: 6:08
Match #5: (no. 8 Scott Steiner (IWGP Tag Team Champion) v. (no. 9) Ultimate Warrior
Result - Warrior tried to control the bout from early on and wasn't selling much: Scotty muscled Warrior into a few suplexes and the match quickly became bowling shoe ugly: the finish was bad too- STeiner and Warrior tumbled outside and Warrior tried a splash into the guard rail but missed and hit the steel hard and flew over the top of it- Scott bounded back in the ring to beat the 10 count and advance.
Match #6: (no. 6) Ricky Steamboat (*2nd) v. (no. 11) Rick Steiner ((WGP Tag Team Champion) (*2nd)
Result- as both combatants stare across the ring from each other, the Dragon remembers going down to this "Dog-Faced Gremlin" in last year's tournament and vows it will not happen again; but Rick's power is a lot to overcome!! He tosses Dragon all over but Ricky comes back and starts using that quickness with hip tosses, armdrags and martial arts chops. He climbs up top and goes for the body press and Rick catches him in a belly to belly, just like last year but Ricky kicks out this time!! Rick goes for a Steinr line and Dragon cinches in the Chicken Wing then drops him and uses a back leg cradle to get the win in a hell of a match!
Time of Match: 13:54
Match #7: (no. 4) Rick Rude (WCW US Champion) (w/Madusa) v. (no. 13) Barry Windham
Result - Nothing fancy here; two bad hombres punishing each other and both in tip top shape- Madusa stayed mostly out of the match and Windham looked like he may have it when he hit his superplex off the top but a timely foot on the rope (w/ Madusa's assistance) saved the Ravishing One. Windham had match in hand after that but missed a flying lariat and when he recovered, Rude kneed him in the gut, double chop to the throat and locked in the Rude Awakening to move on
Time of Match: 10:39
Match #8: (no. 2) Randy Savage v. (no. 15) Vader (w/ Harley Race)
Result - Any normal man would have turned tail and ran versus this kodiak bear; but Macho was not a normal man. He was all over Vader early on and shocking the big man by his aggression but eventually he got clotheslined out of his boots and Vader went to work on Savage. After a big splash out of the corner, Savage barely got out at 2 and 3/4 but Vader was not happy with this and got in the ref's face. The ref pushed back and Vader tossed him to the mat, earning himself a DQ. But, this monster wasn't done, tossing the ref as casually as a piece of paper into a trash can, then he powerbombed Randy into the mat, drug him outside like wounded prey and rammed him headfirst into the steel pole, ripping open Macho's forehead. Tournament officials finally got Vader out of there as Savage moved on, but worse for wear.
Time of Match: 8:07
Match #9: Sting defeated Dr. Death
Result- Sting was not intimidated by this legendary tough guy and both men traded a lot of clotheslines and forearms; not the greatest match honestly and was decided by a small package that Doc was not expecting as Sting moves on.
Time of Match: 8:56
Match #10: Bret Hart beat Steve Austin
Result: Bret was not impressed with Austin's preening before the match but it actually turned into quite a scientific battle. Bret kept it more of a fight than you would expect as Austin tried to match him- Bret outworked the hard worker and got the victory as Austin came leaping off the 2nd rope with a forearm and Bret snatched his legs out of the air and lock in the Sharpshooter.
Time of Match: 6:53
Match #11: Ricky Steamboat beat Scott Steiner
Result: Scott came in fire up, wanting revenge for his brother's loss early on. Both men worked their respective style; Steamboat technical, Steiner power. In the end, the Dragon's experience and flexibility won the day as he leaped over Scott's head as he charged the turnbuckle and while doing so, locked his legs under Scott's arms and latched in a sunset flip for the pin.
Time of Match: 9:54
Match #12: Rick Rude beat Randy Savage
Result: Savage came in bandaged up but you wouldn't have known it; he took it to Rude, who at one point feigned leaving the match, but it was just a tactic. Rude ripped that bandage off and re-opened the wound on Savage's head, as he bled all over the place. But, he still fought back, with jabs and a big clothesline over the top rope that snapped Rude's head down. Savage seemed poised to pull off a miracle and went up top but as he came down, Madusa pulled Rude out of harm's way. With Savage in dire straits, Rude latched in the Awakening and got the win to advance.
Time of Match: 18:00
Match #13: Bret Hart upset Sting
Result: Seeing these two incredibly popular stars staring across the ring at each other had the crowd buzzed before the bell ever rung. There was a feeling out process to start but it got physical within 5 minutes. Bret focused on Sting's legs but Sting hit power move after power move to weaken Bret's back. Later in the match, both men tried their finishing submission but the other knew how to counter it so it was not helping either man. After a perilous battle on the top rope, Sting pushed off hard with a superplex all the way down but as they landed, Bret snuck his legs into Sting's and landed on top of him in an inside cradle and score the pin in an epic encounter that was the match of the tournament.
Time of Match: 26:59
Match #14: Rick Rude pinned Ricky STeamboat
Result: Here were two men that knew each other very well; Steamboat blistered Rude's chest with chops all match long but Rude used a shortcut or two to regain the advantage, whether it be an eye gouge or Madusa getting involved. AT one point, she high kicked Ricky off the top buckle and Rude nearly won with a elbow smash. But, STeamboat was feeling it; he picked Rude up by his neck and when he dropped, he boucned into the buckle and came out and knocked heads with the Dragon; both men tried to cover each other and they both kicked out. Rude got up and locked in the Rude Awakening but Dragon shoved him out of it and hit a powerslam. He went up for a traditional splash off the top but as he came down, Rude jutted up both knees into his gut, then quickly scaled the top and came off with another knee, this time smashing into that old injured throat of the Dragon then cinched his legs tight for the 1,2,3.
Time of Match: 23:04
Match #15: Bret Hart beat Rick Rude
Result: Both men are stellar athletes and this looked to be a fantastic match on paper. Both men controlled sections of the match, with Bret working over that weak Rude back (with those amazing Rude back sells) and Rude worked on Bret's neck (including a nearly decapitating sell face first into the buckle by Bret). Rude went for that knee off the top but missed and Bret almost got the sharpshooter locked in as Rude went to teh ropes; while there, Madusa reached in and claws Bret's eyes, gaining another advantage for Rude. He hit the Awakening but the Hitman kicked out!! Rude went up for his flying knee but Bret countered and ran up, and used his own top rope superplex; as soon as they hit, he picked himself up and transitioned right into the Sharpshooter and Rude couldn't do a thing and had to submit!!
Time of Match: 24:19
Sting vs Shawn Michaels.
Sting overwhelms Michaels early until som interference by Sherri. HBK gives a fantastic showing with multiple near falls against Sting. Stinger wethers the fast paced attack and finishes HBK with the Scorpion Death Lock at 18:47
Ric Flair vs Dr. Death
Ric Flair spends much of the match running, dodging and begging off Dr. Death. Razor gets involved multiple times to a chorus of boos, eventually hitting Williams with a chair while the ref isn't looking. Flair captilizes with a roll-up while also pulling the tights. Dr. Death rampages afterwards but can't overcome the duo of Flair and Ramon. 10:35
Bret Hart vs Nikita Koloff
Hitman wrestles circles submitting the Russian in under 10 minutes.
Steve Austin defeats Jerry Lawler in a typical boring Lawler match. Why is Lawler always on this list?
Scott Steiner vs Ultimate Warrior
Warrior defeats Steiner 5:49 after blowing himself up during his ring entrance. The two exchange power moves until Warrior decides he's not going to sell anything else and hits whatever his splash was called.
Rematch from 91 plays out much the same as the year before. Steiner is a suplex machine and on the lookout for the Dragon's reversal style ambush pinfalls. But The Dog Faced Gremlin still can't out wrestle the Dragon Steamboat defeats Rick Steiner by reversing a German suplex into a roll-up.
Tight contest that spills outside early and goes on for a 120 count with Windahm beating the tar out of Rude. Rude bounces back once the action rolls back inside and the tide turns. Rude defeats Windahm with the rude awakening at 13:17
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Big Van Vader
Vader attacks savage as he's taking off his ring jacket and pours on hard heavy handed strikes and big power moves. Savage fights hard kicking out of multiple big moves but is never able to rally enough offense to overcome the blindsided attack at the beginning and is defeated after repeated Vader Bombs.
Vader defeats Macho Man with a Vader bomb at 16:11
Sting vs Ric Flair
Sting and Flair go all out as if returning to their old feud. Flair bleeds within the first two minutes as the two brawl outside and into the crowd. Back in the ring the two return to form. Sting at his invlulnerable best manages to fight off multiple Ramon interference attempts and after Stinger splashing both men pins Flair at 25:47
Bret Hart vs Steve Austin
Hart and Austin wrestle a superb technical match that goes back and forth into both men working towards a submission victory. Austin wins when the match is stopped by referee due to Hart passing out in a cobra clutch applied by Austin.
Ultimate Warrior Vs Ricky Steamboat
Warrior again gases himself during his entrance. Upon the match starting Warrior begins yelling insane, mystical-warrior, nonsense that only he understands. Warrior comes out of the corner like he's shot out of a canon. He wails on Steamboat with clotheslines, shoulder checks, and slams Steamboat wethers the early storm of power and aggression from Warrior. After tiring the powerhouse out with his impressive resiliency Steamboat begins rapid fire pinning maneuver combinations until Warrior dazed, and exhausted fails to kick out of one of the pinning holds. 18:23
Rick Rude vs Big Van Vader
Vader murders Rude in a butal 10 minute squash. Vader again uses multiple Vader Bombs to put Rude away. Rude was taken from the ring on a stretcher.
Sting vs Steve Austin
Sting and Austin have a fantastic hard hitting bout. Both men have stellar efforts with Sting coming out on top submitting Austin with the Scorpion Death lock.
Steamboat vs. Vader
Steamboat starts out fast not letting the bigger man get a hold of him. Steamboat hits and runs trying to keep Vader chasing him. Harley race trips Steamboat up and Vader begins his brutal assault. Vader hits Steamboat with everything he's got and can't put Steamboat away. As the time limit draws near Vader goes up for the Vader-Sault and Steamboat counters by powerbombing Vader from the buckle. Vader showing his own resilience kicks out. Steamboat goes up for the flying crossbody. Vader catches him mid air, slam, Vader bomb. Steamboat kicks out. Vader begins beating on Steamboat in the corner, his frustration at not being able to put Steamboat away getting the best of him. Referee tries to pull Vader from the corner and Vader clobbers him for his effort. Vader continues assaulting Steamboat after his disqualification at 29:07.
Vader continues the onslaught until Sting comes to the rescue weilding a steel chair. Sting and Vader have a pull apart brawl.
Sting vs Ricky the Dragon Steamboat
Steamboat enters the ring with taped ribs and stumbled going through the ropes. He is obviously injured. The match begins with a respectful handshake before the two lock up. Sting works the leg setting up the Scorpion Death lock and maintiand advantage for a large portion of the match. Steamboat continues narrow submission escapes, and close kickouts. Sting catches Steamboat coming off the ropes with a tiltawhirl backbreaker sending Steamboat writhing in agony. He picks Steboat up for another backbreaker but hesitates at doing more damage to the ribs and back of his opponent. Steamboat captilizes with a reversal pinning maneuver. Sting kicks out but The Dragon has seized momentum and pours everything he has left into bringing down the Stinger. Steamboat hits the Flying chop, Sting kicks out, Flying cross body Sting rolls through covering Steamboat for a long 2 count. Steamboat head back up top for a missile dropkick, which Sting reverses into a scorpion death lock. Steamboat pushes up looking for the exact same reversal he used to defeat Sting in last year's tournament, but Sting learned his lesson and as Steamboat rolls under him Sting sits down into a pinning reversal of the reversal. 1…...2…….3!
Sting wins at 45:23