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Thread: WCW

  1. #41
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    Heading quickly towards CotC V and then the Chi-Town Rumble now. A lot of the talent I thought were gone - notably Dick Murdoch - are back, so I think they might just have not had much for them heading into Starrcade. The debut of Steamboat is pretty great, Flair and Windham make him look like a megastar straight off the bat. And they've just smashed Eddie Gilbert's face and had him stretchered out, the dastards.

    It took a while after Arn and Tully left for the references to 'The Horsemen' to stop. Now it seems to just be 'Flair and Windham'. Though obviously they'll fill the ranks out again before too much longer.

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  2. #42
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    When you said Steamboat's debut, I thought you meant the amazing "he's just a man" reveal, but that's in '91. One of my favorite WCW moments ever, is that. Can't blame Steamboat either, I've been flabbergasted by WWF used him when he came back to that side.

  3. #43
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    I must say though... it may be too early to tell but it feels like there's been a bit of a drop in the quality of the booking from week to week since Dusty left. I know they are going to nail the PPVs and that there's a hell of a year for Flair in particular coming up, but there was a little spark running through a lot of stuff in '88 that just seems to be lacking at the moment.

    And the other thing to note is something that's already well documented, Steamboat may be one hell of a wrestler but that face character in 1989 sucked hard, and you can hear plenty of deep-voiced chants for Flair from the live crowds. Though it's not so blatant as someone like Reigns gets nowadays because the crowds look to me as if they are more diverse than they are now.

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  4. #44
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    '89 delivers in terms of the main event matches of course, but I'm very curious to know if the actual booking holds up or not. I actually don't remember seeing that much home-run stuff outside of Flair in '89, and like you mentioned it's well known that the Steamboat/Flair feud was a letdown outside the ring for the most part, and didn't draw particularly well, especially compared to Funk/Flair later in the year.

  5. #45
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    Occurred to me while I was watching that aside from the main, I don't think I'd ever seen the Chi-Town Rumble in full before. Didn't get much out of the opener but thought it picked up a lot from there. Found myself really into the Luger and Windham match for some reason. Dennis Condrey leaving before the midnight's match hurts it since he's the link between the two teams, though to be fair to Cornette he works his ass off to make something of it anyway.

    Starting to notice some of the differences in between the '88 style and '89. I think George Scott is in charge of things at this point. Anyway, there's less talk - under Dusty on the weekly TV pretty much everyone who won a match got to talk, and as they were squash matches that meant pretty much every 'star' had chance to push their angle. There's more of a restriction on who gets to talk. The squash matches themselves are actually longer - there's far fewer instances of the stars coming in and beating guys in a minute or so as was common in 1988. The underneath guys they are getting in also don't look to be at the same level as I've noticed a couple of times people doing some really poor stuff, in matches with Eddie Gilbert and Kendall Windham specifically.

    One for the technical nerds, one of the places it really stands out with Gilbert is his finisher. I'm not sure the hot shot is the best move to use because it's so dependent on the guy taking it to make it look good, and I've seen it so often where the set-up is telegraphed and there's very little in the actual landing on the rope to sell it. Can't help wondering if he'd have been better using it more sparingly.

    Oh well. Pushing on into March of 1989 now.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #46
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    Definitely thought Windham/Luger was good when we went through TLS, though looking back I wonder if it could have been better. I also remember liking LOD/Williams & Sullivan from that show.

    Never was a fan of the hot shot, I get the idea of it but I agree it's hard to rely on it to actually look good.

  7. #47
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    Now into April. Slowed down a lot, the booking doesn't keep you going as readily and there's so much stuff on the Network that I get pulled in other directions. Probably need to try and refocus on this or it'll just peter out in the middle of '89, and I want to get at least through the Flair/Funk stuff.

    No real evidence of Sting being massively 'unimproved' as yet either. I know you were waiting for some news on that! As for Lex, he's soldiering on. I don't see any great upturn in his work on '88, still seems to be good with the right person which I imagine is all they wanted from him anyway.

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  8. #48
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    Haha, thanks for the update. So you're seeing Sting get consistently better over the course of the year then, I guess? I didn't really care for any of his big matches in '89, even the Muta stuff left me kind of cold, which I was not expecting going in.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    So you're seeing Sting get consistently better over the course of the year then, I guess?
    No, I wouldn't say that. In fact I can't say I've seen anything as much as the two big matches of his I really love from 1988. But I took unimproved to mean actively going backwards, and I've not seen much to justify that. Then again, it isn't until 1990 that is supposed to come in. But long story short, Sting isn't getting to work with Flair, Windham, Tully or Arn, and so unsurprisingly he doesn't have the same body of work for the year, and that seems to have far more to do with it than anything about his own performance. In fact generally the absence of the guys now called 'The Brain Busters' shouldn't be underestimated in what I'm seeing, because even in squash matches on the weekly show they'd raise the interest level.

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  10. #50
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    Watching through years of 3 minute squashes on Wrestling Challenge, I can definitely say nobody got more out of those minutes than Arn & Tully!

  11. #51
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    Anyone heard the rumour that at some point Eric Bischoff was having conversations about luring Pat Patterson away from the WWE? As one of the key McMahon lieutenants, the road agent responsible for the 'top' finishes, and the creative force behind things like the Royal Rumble, the impact of that could have been quite something.

    Presumably WWE leans heavier into Russo if Pat goes? Interesting to think about though.

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  12. #52
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    I think the problem with Bischoff getting Patterson (which Eric admits he was trying to recruit) is that WCW had NO structure. Hell, even some long time employees like Tony Schiavone enjoyed when Russo came in, because he held meetings and put in some structure (at least at first). No one in WCW was on the same page, and adding Patterson would have just added another voice in the noise of other experienced voiced. Bischoff wasn't missing a finish guy, he had too much noise backstage all trying to fight for power and push their guys. Adding Patterson would have only added more drama.

  13. #53
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    Yeah, hard to imagine Patterson fitting well in the WCW structure. In WWF, Vince can just say listen to Pat, and everyone will. In WCW, nobody is really directing traffic. Can you imagine Patterson trying to direct someone like Nash or Hogan at the height of their obnoxiousness?

    Also depends on the time frame, of course. Bischoff bringing Patterson in around '93, for example, and making it clear that he was a top creative voice, well now that could be very interesting, albeit still unlikely.

    Reposting this from my "recommend" thread, as this is where it was originally mentioned:

    Ric Flair vs. Sting, NWA Championship 3/27/88 NWA Clash of the Champions I

    Perhaps surprisingly, I've never seen this match before, though I've heard plenty about it. Anyone who knows me knows I have a tendency to slander Sting, but I also think he could be good with the right person in the right time and place. I honestly dislike most of the later Sting/Flair matches, but this is Flair absolutely on top of the world, and hopefully a Sting who hasn't learned too many annoying habits.

    Now that I've finally seen the match, I can certainly say it's by a large margin the best Sting/Flair match that I've seen, and I think I've seen most if not all of the major ones. I did feel like Flair was almost literally leading Sting by the hand at times, but that was Flair's calling card so I don't hold it against a very green Sting, who did fine in his first really huge match. I mean, he did waste time yelling some nonsense about partying with scant minutes left on the clock, but that's classic Sting, the guy is dedicated to being a goof sometimes. I thought the lengthy headlock stuff was fun at times in the middle but it was just a little bit tedious after a while, it's not like they didn't do anything with it but I wasn't sure it really connected to anything in the long run. I really liked the transitions, it was clearly thought out well (or called well in the ring by Flair, more likely). The narrative is this match made Sting a star overnight and I wonder if that holds up, because he was very over just walking to the ring, but I can see a match like this going a long ways towards making him a permanent fixture in the minds of the fans. The final stretch was VERY exciting overall, though I still maintain that Sting is not very good at no selling, and every time he tries to do it like he's LOD or something it takes me out a little. But yeah, great stretch, and the crowd was nuts. I don't know why a TV star and a model were allowed to score this match in favor of Flair, but I guess however you can keep the belt, Ric!

    In the end I still think the big Flair/Luger matches are on the whole better than the Flair/Sting bouts, but this is one that can at least stand in the same conversation as the best Luger stuff. A pretty great match that didn't let down on it's hype.


    Also watched more GAB '88, so I'll add it here as well as in my recommend thread:


    Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane vs. Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers, NWA US Tag Team Championships 7/10/88 NWA Great American Bash

    I always love to watch one of my favorite tag teams ever, the Midnight Express, in any incarnations. The Fantastics are a bit of a blind spot for me by comparison, I've seen a couple scattered matches but I don't have a real good handle on them. This match went a long way to fill that gap, as it's a masterful babyface performance by Fulton and Rogers. They were gutsy, they were clever, they hung in there when things weren't going their way and fought to come back. I've been hovering on the edge of Fantastics fandom for awhile but I think I can definitely say they are a team I will seek out in the future.

    But man, the Midnight Express!! I'm more familiar with this version than the Condrey version, which I know some people say is better, but I have a hard time imagining the Eaton/Lane version being topped because they are just phenomenal. And James Cornette gave one of his best performances I've ever seen before the match, there was a stipulation that he had to be tied in a straightjacket and also suspended in a hanging cage(!!), and as the referee trusses him up he is a sight to behold, crying, begging, trying to bribe the referee, anything you can think of. It helps me see why some people say Cornette is on the Bobby Heenan level, what a committed and wonderful performance. Stan Lane is another favorite of mine, his "karate" may not look like the real McCoy in 2018, but it has a charm all it's own and looks very effective at times as he levels a lot of kicks into guys, in a way nobody in the US was really doing at the time. But the MVP is, and will almost always be, the great Bobby Eaton. Is there nothing this man can't do? His right hand looks like death every time he hits it, he can hit about 17 kinds of backbreakers and they all look amazing, he bumps like a king, and by all reports he was one of the easiest guys to have a great match with in wrestling history. He absolutely kills it here.

    Such a great match, honestly I would call it fantastic. The finishing stretch is dynamite, the slam onto the concrete had me gasping especially. Go out of your way to watch this on the Network!


    Ronnie Garvin, Steve Williams, Hawk, Animal, & Jimmy Garvin vs. Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, Ivan Koloff, Russian Assassin, & Al Perez, Tower of Doom 7/10/88 NWA Great American Bash

    This is a version of the triple decker cage that you would see on extremely rare occasions in NWA/WCW. It always sounds cool, it always looks cool, but man is it hard to work in. This match had somewhat convoluted rules. Two men start in the top of the cage and fight for two minutes, then after that period two more men come in and the referee opens a trapdoor (or tries to) and there's a period where guys can jump down to the next level. The final goal is to get your whole team to escape out the bottom, with the help of valet Precious, who is tied up in the larger story of this match and the "keeper of the keys" on the bottom level. I confess ignorance to the finer points but the idea seems to be it's not known if she will align with Jimmy Garvin or Kevin Sullivan.

    The match is, well, it's very awkward, as you might expect. There's limited camera shots available, especially for the top level, and since they can barely move up there anyway it's basically impossible to tell what's happening in that part of the cage. As guys start dropping down they are able to do some more compelling stuff, but it remains tough to really do much of worth. I admit I was also irked by the way the match was worked. A face and a heel would drop to the bottom level, fight for a little while, and then both would just walk out the door, so it was really difficult for anyone to gain an advantage, and the fighting that preceded the escape seemed really meaningless as there was nothing to stop the second guy from leaving and tying things up. The first guy to drop down, Ron Garvin, barely did anything in this match, as he got down to the bottom alone and simply left, which doubly sucks as he was the guy I wanted to see most out of everyone in this match. It would have been one thing for the heels to start playing defense and filling up the bottom level with heels to put each new babyface through hell, but there was really no attempt to use any kind of logical strategy to fit the unique stipulations.

    It comes down to Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan, as the principal members of the feud, and the match picks up a little then. I honestly despise all the Jimmy Garvin I've seen in terms of in ring work, but Sullivan is a very good hand and it helps that it became very story driven at the end. Sullivan drops down first but Precious doesn't seem to want to give him the keys, and he has to crawl after her because Garvin beat up his leg. Garvin gets down too and Precious hesitates but ends up helping him. The finish is Sullivan decides to shove Garvin out the door ahead of him, then lock himself in with Precious to get revenge on her. The match is officially over at this point, but what happens after is more exciting than anything from bell to bell, as Sullivan starts stalking Precious on one leg as the babyfaces realize what's happening and start climbing back up top so they can make their way down and save her. Sullivan starts choking her with athletic tape, but thankfully Hawk makes it back in first and he runs Sullivan off before he can do anything worse. Very compelling at the finish, though I wouldn't recommend the match itself, which was too flawed conceptually to overcome it's limitations.


    Barry Windham vs. Dusty Rhodes, NWA US Championship 7/10/88 NWA Great American Bash

    Here's another exciting match between two guys I am a big fan of. Dusty's charisma is legendary and I tend to think it translates better to his ring work than others might, and I think Windham is one of the unheralded best in the history of the business. The story behind this is that Windham has recently turned to the Horsemen, breaking Dusty's heart as they had been close in the babyface locker room. Windham is also wearing the Blackjack single glove, which I am always a fan of.

    This match lived up to be as good as I hoped it would be, in fact I would say the match was great, it was compelling and well worked, and the crowd was red hot for Dusty. They do a fair bit of brawling outside the ring but get it done between the ropes as well. I also saw more value in JJ Dillon in this match than I have before, as he took a few fun bumps and generally acted way more managerial in the sense that I expect to see. There's a lengthy Iron Claw spot that they do a great job with, Dusty trying not to pass out and power out of it multiple times was very compelling and should be taught in classes on how to make lengthy holds compelling. The finish was a little disappointing, the referee is bumped and Ron Garvin shows up to turn heel and punch out Dusty, and it all seemed a little bit too random and designed to protect Dusty (who, if I'm not mistaken, is also the booker at this time). Still, I enjoyed this a whole lot and am glad I checked it out.
    Last edited by mizfan; 4 Weeks Ago at 03:12 PM.

  14. #54
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    Carrying on with the rewatch, enjoying the heat on Teddy Long when he first turns. Entire crowds baying for his blood, so awesome.

    For those who know this time well, Muta just misted Missy Hyatt....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  15. #55
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    Didn't know that happened! They sure liked doing things to Missy Hyatt. Hopefully this time they at least warned her in advance!

    I just saw Teddy Long as a referee in one of the '88 matches you recommended! I'll post my review of that a little later today...

    Reposted from my recommend thread!

    Ron Simmons & Eddie Gilbert vs. Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers, NWA US Tag Team Championships 12/7/88 NWA Clash of the Champions IV

    Man, what kind of team is Simmons & Gilbert? For an era flush with established teams, I was surprised to see a duo so seemingly makeshift in this position. I'm not mad though! I'm a Ron Simmons guy, absolutely, and I've wanted to see more of Eddie Gilbert for awhile. I think both guys did well, and it's very nice to see more Fantastics, they really are quite good. I almost think I might like them more than the Rock 'n Roll Express right now? But that's another team I should see more of before I judge for sure. What I ended up liking most in this match is that they built the back half around Gilbert having an injured arm, and thought Gilbert fought very hard, he couldn't overcome it and ended up losing the match because of it. It came off extremely realistic, a very authentic feeling for the finish, no melodramatic overcoming the odds, no last minute miraculous healing, no heel turn from the Fantastics, just Gilbert's arm was hurt and in the end it cost them the match. Really dig that, at 28 minutes the match did feel a little long at times but I'm very impressed by the dedication to psychology in the match layout. A pretty great tag match overall.


    Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane vs. Barry Windham & Ric Flair 12/7/88 NWA Clash of the Champions IV

    Now THIS looks like a dream match to me! One of the best tag teams ever against the best two Horsemen not named Arn Anderson. I was incredibly hyped coming into this, and the match did not disappoint. Surprising to see MX working as faces, especially so soon after the last '88 match I saw them, but I've got to say their in ring style really lends itself to that, as both Eaton and Lane can pop off so much crowd pleasing offense. Even Cornette as a face manager was very effective, seeing him scuffle ineffectively but with heart against JJ Dillon was very compelling at times. Flair looked wonderful in the match, as expected, but I think I have to say, perhaps with some degree of sacrilege, that nobody looked better than the great Bobby Eaton in this match. His punches alone are so godlike, but above and beyond that everything he did in the match was so on point, he's just a joy to see. I'm not the biggest fan of shoe driven finishes but I have to admit, they set this one up beautifully. Just wish it'd be a different foreign object, but oh well! A fantastic tag match that everyone should seek out.


    Barry Windham vs. Eddie Gilbert, NWA US Championship 12/24/88 NWA World Championship Wrestling

    Another chance to see not only Gilbert but also more of one of my all time favorites, Barry Windham! This was cool because it was in the studio setting, so a much smaller but very vocal crowd. I dug the set up of this, with JJ Dillon seemingly very carefree before the match and not taking Gilbert as a serious challenger for his champion, and then getting more concerned during the match went on, even admitting on commentary that he underestimated Gilbert as the fight becomes more drawn out and Windham looks like he's at serious risk. Dug the whole set up honestly, we were so close it was really easy to follow Dillon's actions and commentary did a good job tracking the change in his attitude as the match went on. Gilbert, for his part, did very well I think punching up against Windham, who looked absolutely great in this. I loved late in the match when Windham put on the Claw and made it look so damn good, and Gilbert tried everything on god's earth to get out but Windham kept on him like a vice. I liked this one in the end nearly as much as the tag match that came before it, and that's saying a lot!
    Last edited by mizfan; 1 Week Ago at 03:14 PM.

  16. #56
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    Teddy Long does a lot of refereeing, more so than Tommy Young on a weekly basis. I think that's what made it work when he turned. Nowadays it would be done in about six weeks, tops.

    On a less positive note, just watching an old Clash of the Champions, and they booked Ranger Ross against someone I've never seen before, called... The Terrorist. I know that it was a different world then, but still, fuuuuck.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  17. #57
    The Brain
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    An evil ref gimmick can be gold. I think Danny Davis was legitimately more hated than Heenan for awhile, that is until he started wrestling and the heat died down fast.

    I've seen some very weird masked jobber gimmicks in my WWF re-watch, but nobody quite that outlandish!

  18. #58
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    I noticed something while watching Norman the Lunatic on the same show. The outlandish stuff, coming as it does on the same show as guys like Flair, Steamboat and Funk, and after a 1988 when Dusty was booking a fairly 'real' show, comes off as so much more outlandish and out of place. I got to thinking that on the WWF a couple of years later something like Norman the Lunatic would have been just... normal.

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  19. #59
    The Brain
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    Definitely works better to be colorful and weird when Hogan, Savage, and Warrior are on top.

  20. #60
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    Very few people are having a great 1989 on a week to week basis if we're going to be completely frank out it. Terry Funk has been fucking killing it, but actually the shows are a lot less compelling than they had been under Dusty and Crockett.

    I'm starting to think Flair's legendary 1989 is all about trying to make up for the fact that guys like Arn, Tully, Windham etc aren't around anymore, and that the booking is just not so good. It's almost like he's tried, with more than a little help from Steamboat and Funk obviously, to try and make up for that by himself, as the champion.

    So yeah, fuckin' Jim Herd, man. Though he's not as bad an onscreen presence as I remember. Probably due to standards changing over time, because compared with Dixie Carter or John Laurinaitis he's basically Vince McMahon circa 1998. But jokes aside, he's less awkward in his role than Jack Tunney could be in his. I'm not trying to say that makes up for Hunchbacks or Ding-dongs, but thought it was still worth mentioning.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  21. #61
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    I don't know, lots of onscreen figures at the time were pretty awkward, I think Herd was average in that role for that time period.

    Flair's great 1989 had to be, because WCW was dying a great death and they were just really starting. Herd set them back so much that WCW had a hard time catching up later. It was during this time that I would really only watch WCW the last part of the show when I knew Flair was on. Because prior to that, the NWA was a legit promotion that I loved watching. What always surprises me was Herd's hatred of the Midnight Express because that was my favorite team of the NWA/WCW. I kind of wished they did jump to WWF in 1986, because I would have picked out the Midnight over other tag team sets that I ended up getting back then.

  22. #62
    The Brain
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    Watching through the '89 PPVs, I definitely got the sense that the main event was looking great between Flair, Steamboat, and Funk, but everything else was a mixed bag, some stuff looking good but other looking pretty bad, and not much consistency.

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