Commentators: Jim Ross & Bob Caudle
This week’s World Championship Wrestling does some building towards WrestleWar later in the month while also building for a match between Ric Flair and El Gigante. Who actually wants to see that match, raise your hands. Put your hands down, liar.
- Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich, & Junkyard Dog vs. Rip Rogers, Steve Stax, & Jeff Hendrick
- Lex Luger vs. Lou Fabiano
- Ringside Interview: Ric Flair
- Terry Taylor vs. Dave Diamond
- The Steiner Brothers vs. Paul Lee & Ray Hammer
- Segment: Wrestling Wrap-Up w/ Gordon Solie
- The Lightning Express vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham
- Ringside Interview: Doom
- The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Rick Hardrock & Reno Riggins
- Sid Vicious vs. Phillip Parrish
- Ringside Interview: Brian Pillman
- Bobby Eaton vs. Tim Parker
- Ringside Interview: El Gigante
First shot of the episode is a long pan up El Gigante, to get across how tall he is in case they dropped the ball in showing you, with Gigante yelling “I WANT DA BELT” in broken English at the end. Bob Caudle is back on commentary with Jim Ross this week. I honestly though Caudle was done with WCW so this is a pleasant surprise.
Ricky Morton, ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich, & The Junkyard Dog vs. Rip Rogers, Jeff Hendrick, & Steve Stax
The first-ever WCW (not NWA) Six Man Tag Team Champions will be crowned during a house show at the Omni on February 17th, with Morton and the gang in contention for it. Rogers starts for his jobber team and he gets outclassed first by Morton then by Rich. Caudle knows that doing color for this match isn’t really worthwhile so he hypes the rest of the show coming instead. JYD tags in and the crowd immediately chants his initials. He might be one of the most over people in WCW at this point in time. JYD headbutts Rogers, sending him out to the floor. Stax tags in and gets caught on the middle rope just trying to get into the ring. I don’t like his chances. Morton and Rich do a little phantom tag action usually reserved for heel teams as they work Stax over with a headlock. Rich catches Stax, who’s seriously having trouble just standing up during this match, with a crossbody but can’t put him away. Morton tags in, as does Hendrick who eats a double back elbow from Morton and Rich, Rich’s cover interrupted by Rogers. Faces continue beating on Hendrick, Rogers repeatedly breaking up the count until JYD takes him out momentarily with a headbutt. Rogers gets the proper tag and manages some offense because he’s the only actual wrestler of his team. Rich gets a hot tag that isn’t really earned (they’ve been in control for pretty much the whole match) and Hendrick tags in. He’s quickly dropped with a Thesz Press though as Rich gets the victory for his team. This went on way too long for a squash match, way way too long, but I respect Rogers at least trying to get a little heat where he could. I’m not entirely sold on this Six Man Tag Team Championship thing yet, especially if it’s going to be filled with teams put together because they’ve got nothing better going on. Honestly I’m surprised Brad Armstrong isn’t Morton and Rich’s partner instead of JYD. (8:36)
- Final Rating: EXTENDED SQUASH
Ross and Caudle segue into footage of Dan Spivey‘s attack on Lex Luger at COTC XIV: Dixie Dynamite. Spivey challenges Luger for the United States Championship at WrestleWar.
‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger vs. Lou Fabiano
Fabiano tries to hush the crowd during Luger’s entrance to get some heat, respect to him for caring about this squash. Luger does a little rasslin’ for a change, controlling the match with a side headlock. Fabiano tries some forearms but Luger brushes it off and wins with a running elbowdrop. That’s some Dusty Rhodes stuff right there. Guess he didn’t think he could lift Fabiano for the Torture Rack. Glamour muscles. (2:28)
- Final Rating: SQUASH
Ringside Interview: Ric Flair
Ross asks Flair about El Gigante’s comments at the start of the broadcast. Flair puts over all the benefits of being World Champion. Crowd chants ‘We Want Sting’ and Flair tells them he wants him too to play off them a bit. Nice touch, wasn’t expecting that. El Gigante himself shows up and tells Flair he wants the belt. Flair tells Gigante to remember who he’s talking to, Gigante just sorta walks off awkwardly. Alright then. I really really really don’t want to see a Flair/Gigante match but if anyone can get a good match out of that big goof it’s The Nature Boy.
Terry Taylor vs. Dave Diamond
Taylor turned heel at Dixie Dynamite this past Wednesday but this match was taped a week before that so we’re getting non-York Foundation Taylor here. The disconnect between that show and this weekend’s batch of TV is huge. Them’s the breaks of taping their TV in advance and in bulk. Diamond manages to roll Taylor up in a series of pinning predicaments but Taylor kicks out each time. An angry Taylor clotheslines Diamond, shoot busting up his nose in the process. Taylor asks if Diamond is okay then rams him nose-first into the turnbuckle, then concludes with the Five Arm. Taylor meets the now former Television Champion The Z-Man tomorrow on Main Event. (3:28)
- Final Rating: SQUASH
The Steiner Brothers vs. Paul Lee & Ray Hammer
Rick & Scott Steiner cut an insert promo about War Games at WrestleWar. It’s nothing worth repeating. Paul Lee is looking very Ric Flair-like, down to the long blonde hair and entrance robe. The Steiners love to feast on jobbers and feast they do, pulling no punches. Rick Steiner kills Hammer with a stiff as shit Steinerline and instead of going for the pin he lifts him up and allows him to tag Lee back in. Hammer looks legit hurt, he can’t even leave the ring while Scott Steiner drills Lee with the Franksteiner for the victory. Goddamn. Ease up, Steiners. They need to feed their family too. (2:58)
- Final Rating: BRUTAL SQUASH
Segment: Wrestling Wrap-Up w/ Gordon Solie
Solie focuses on the Big Van Vader/Stan Hansen rematch set for WrestleWar, seguing into a clip of the first Tokyo Dome match from 1990. Jim Ross does commentary over the Japanese commentary. We only see two or three minutes of the contest as it’s too bloody and brutal to watch in its entirety. Hansen ended up breaking Vader’s orbital bone, forcing him to wrestle with an eye popping out of its socket. Apparently this match went twenty-five minutes. I want to see it in its entirety but I’m also afraid Vader’s eye popping out of its socket will make me throw up. I just baby birded thinking about it. Cut back to Solie who hypes that WCW is getting the big rematch every promoter wanted to book. I can’t imagine them going as hard as they do in Japan come WrestleWar but I’d love to be pleasantly surprised. Solie hypes having big news about Dusty Rhodes‘ future in WCW next week, when their TV finally acknowledges the fallout from Dixie Dynamite. Hopefully.
The Lightning Express vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham
Tim Horner and Brad Armstrong team together once again so I guess their reunion a few weeks ago wasn’t a one-time thing. They have lost their team name though according to how they’re introduced but I’m gonna keep calling them The Lightning Express like the stubborn jerk I am. Armstrong appears to have finally shed that dumb ‘Candyman’ gimmick. Anderson tries to stall but Armstrong is there to greet him on the floor and toss him back in. Horner dropkicks both Horsemen members repeatedly, clearing the ring before Armstrong can also get him some. Windham tags in but misses an elbowdrop, allowing Horner to make the tag to Armstrong. Armstrong catches Windham with a flying crossbody but only gets two. Anderson tags in and doesn’t fare much better, taking a boot right to the forehead. Anderson and Armstrong do a whole lot of chain rasslin’ until Windham makes the tag. Horner tags in and the Express connect with a double clothesline for two. Horner catches Windham in a headscissors, Windham rolls to the ropes and catches him with a cheapshot while the ref forces a break. Windham rakes his cowboy boot across Horner’s eyes and tags out to Anderson who eats a kneelift. Armstrong gets the tag and runs right into a hard as hell Spinebuster that excites Ross on commentary. I love a good spinebuster too, JR. Anderson takes too long to gloat, however, and his lateral press results only in a two-count. Windham tags in, connecting with a powerslam off the Irish whip but only gets two. You can’t keep an Armstrong down with a simple powerslam, bro. Armstrong gets a sunset flip but Anderson makes the tag to prevent the pin. Horsemen are in control as we go to commercial.
Armstrong catches Anderson with a sleeperhold but Windham cheapshots him to break the hold behind the ref’s back. Windham tags in and peppers Armstrong in the corner with European uppercuts, following up with an awkward-looking piledriver. Armstrong tags Windham with a couple of shots, Windham stops it with a rake to the eyes. Anderson tags in and Armstrong tries to leap over to make the tag but Anderson catches him and hits an inverted atomic drop. Anderson goes for a double axhandle but Armstrong counters with a left hand right to the breadbasket. Windham quickly tags back in and hits a DDT but Armstrong manages to kick out in the nick of time repeatedly. Windham grabs the hair to prevent a tag and in comes Anderson, who also misses an elbowdrop, and Armstrong rolls out to the floor. Armstrong manages a sunset flip over the ropes and powers through a series of rights to get him over but Windham gets the tag and stops the count. Armstrong counters a suplex attempt with one of his own. Anderson tags in, Armstrong crawls under the legs and Horner gets the deserved hot tag. Slams and a double noggin knocker for the Horsemen. Windham rakes Horner’s eyes and hits a DDT to stop the onslaught. Horner catches Windham with an inside cradle but Windham kicks out. All four men brawl in the ring and then in come Doom to attack Anderson & Windham. Aw man what a cheap way to end what was a really good match. I dug this one a lot until that happened. (17:03 shown)
- Final Rating: **3/4
Horner and Armstrong are the unimportant ones so they just leave the ring as the attack continues. Anderson & Windham manage to rebound and clear Doom from the ring like a couple of babyfaces. The official match result is a double DQ. That doesn’t make sense, Doom attacked the Horsemen so the Horsemen should’ve won. On an unrelated note people say I nitpick pro wrestling a lot.
Ringside Interview: Doom
After a commercial break Paul E. Dangerously joins Doom at ringside for an interview. Dangerously asks where Teddy Long is, Butch Reed angrily tells him not to worry because he’s taking care of business by buying a whole lot of condos. Ron Simmons says this isn’t about houses and cars, they need to get back to before all that if they want to remain Tag Team Champions. The dissension continues.
The Fabulous Freebirds vs. Rick Hardrock & Reno Riggins
My boy Hardrock is sporting a fashionable denim jacket, upping his pre-match gear game. Ross and Caudle talk about how the Freebirds want whatever tag team gold they can get their hands on, which is a pretty obvious statement. A tag team wants to win tag team gold? NOOOOO. Riggins gets some basic offense on Michael Hayes but decides to gloat instead of continue and Hayes kills him with a clothesline. Boy is it gonna be awkward when Chris Benoit starts his WCW run and I still use the word ‘kill’ to describe moves. Jimmy Garvin tags in to continue the punishment by way of stomps. Hardrock tags in, Garvin takes him to the mat with a waistlock, Hardrock responds with a standing side headlock. Garvin escapes with a belly-to-back suplex and Hayes tags back in, slapping on a chinlock. Crowd chants for the DDT, the finisher of the Freebirds, and Ross makes sure to remind the home audience that they’re heels and the crowd only cares about the move. Nice save. Hardrock backs Garvin into the corner and tags Riggins in, who misses a dropkick so he accomplished nothing. Hayes tags in, splashes Riggins in the corner, and finishes him off with a DDT. (5:53)
- Final Rating: SQUASH
Sid Vicious vs. Phillip Parrish
Sid doesn’t have time for singlet nonsense this time around. Ref continually points at the bell trying to get it to ring, which is finally does twenty seconds later after an insert promo from Sid. Time recorded for this started at first point. Power Bomb ends it quickly. We get a replay of Sid’s clothesline from behind and you can see a ‘is wrestling really worth it?’ look on Parrish’s face. Poor guy. (1:33)
- Final Rating: SQUASH
Sid’s EMT crew try to take Parrish away, Sid pushes the gurney over and attacks the ref. It’s not his fault, the streets of Wherever He Darn Well Pleases are tough so he had to learn to be a bully to survive.
Ringside Interview: Brian Pillman
Missy Hyatt is standing by with Flyin’ Bryan. Pillman puts over his War Games teammates. Terry Taylor interrupts to whine some more about not getting a title shot. Taylor says he doesn’t have a problem with Pillman, Pillman also says he has no problem with him and we go to commercial before they start broing out at one another.
COMMERCIAL BREAK HIGHLIGHT: TBS is running a Chuck Norris marathon because of course they are.
‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton vs. Tim ‘Powerhouse’ Parker
Ross and Caudle talk about Terry Taylor’s rudeness in the previous segment. Next thing you know he’ll be part of some sort of foundation of yorks. Eaton slaps on an armbar and the crowd is either chanting ‘Bobby’ or ‘Boring’. Maybe ‘Boo-urns?’. Seems to me that the crowd is restless either way. Spending an entire day watching weeks worth of squashes would do that to you. Parker manages a meager amount of offense but Eaton quickly outwrestles him and continues working on Powerhouse’s arm, setting up his finisher where he drops a leg across the throat. Parker catches Eaton with a flying sunset flip but Eaton rolls through it multiple times and goes back to the arm. Parker connects with a dropkick, Eaton connects with a clothesline and back to the goddamn arm he goes. Come on guys have mercy, this show has had enough extended squashes. If I had a watch I’d be aggressively staring at it right now. Eaton tries a neckbreaker but Parker botches it bad but they do the spot again and it’s successful, then Eaton ends this finally with an Alabama Jam. All that arm work paid off! (7:52)
- Final Rating: COMPETITIVE BUT STILL DULL SQUASH
Ringside Interview: El Gigante
Jim Ross is standing by with El Gigante. Gigante, as he’s said a billion times already, wants the belt. Ric Flair runs out and yells all sorts of boastful nonsense at Gigante. Brian Pillman and Cruel Connection are here for another match but Gigante instead gets into the ring and tries to goad Flair into the ring. Out come Sid Vicious, Arn Anderson, and Barry Windham who attack Gigante from behind. Soon enough though he’s saved by Pillman and The Steiner Brothers and they clear the ring, continuing the War Games build for WrestleWar. Poor Cruel Connection, hopefully they still throw him a few sheckles at the pay windah.
Final Thoughts: WCW’s weekly TV is mostly squash matches and you’d figure after a month and change’s worth of reviews I’d be fine with it but for some reason it really got to me on this episode. Probably because a couple of them went almost ten minutes when they didn’t need to, putting them far past the point of tolerance. That dragged this down a bit for me but the Lightning Express/Horsemen match was pretty good at least. The War Games build at the end of the show was a solid conclusion as well and even though I have absolutely no desire to see Flair and Gigante wrestle each other I’ll admit that their verbal ‘sparring’ was getting amusing by the end with Flair yelling nonsense and Gigante just repeating he wants the belt because that’s the only English he’s apparently learned. I’m more interested in how they build off of Dixie Dynamite but that’ll unfortunately have to wait until next week.