By Big Red Machine
From February 21, 1993
SHOW-OPENING ANNOUNCEMENTS - Eric Bischoff lets us know that Ron Simmons won't be here to challenge for the US Title. Missy Hyatt tells us that she has a major interview lined up, but she won't tell us who it is. Then Bischoff brings out Johnny B. Badd to hype up the show. Then we go down Jesse Ventura and Tony Schiavone who immediately explain to us how the ridiculously-named stip in the main event will work (it's just a regular strap match, which makes you wonder why they gave it such a ridiculous name). Then they tell us that Maxx Payne will be replacing Ron Simmons tonight. Speaking of Maxx Payne, we kick it over to him playing the Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar. That was really cool. He is clearly quite the patriot, so now I hope he beats Dustin tonight to win the US Title.
ERIK WATTS & MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL vs. FLYIN' BRIAN & STEVE AUSTIN - 6.25/10
Mr. Bagwell was not yet buff and Mr. Pillman had yet to trade in his rhyming adjective for a last name, but at least Mr. Austin had already become "stunning." Bagwell looks like a cross between surfer Sting and businessman JBL. Also, the son of the recently departed booker was there. Seeing as how Stunning Steve was billed as being from Hollywood, CA, there was a fan with a sign that said "Lights, Camera, Austin." I thought that was pretty clever.
Jesse started things off by accidentally calling Schiavone "McMahon." The match was pretty simplistic but I liked the finish a lot. The general story was that the heels kept interfering to cheat.
They started to show us the video of Sting visiting Vader's White Castle of Fear but they cut away from it pretty quickly because I guess we're supposed to take the main event involving the WCW World Heavyweight Champion seriously.
RIC FLAIR IS RETURNING TO WCW - This started with Bischoff completely spoiling Missy's surprise in order to pitch us over to Missy trying to get an interview with Ric as he showed up in his limo, only to be prevented from doing so by some WCW officials, including being spread up against the limo and frisked by a female cop. Ric and his party of attractive women and important people sauntered off while Missy stomped and pouted in the background. Missy was absolutely hilarious here.
CHRIS BENOIT vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO - 8/10
An excellent match twenty years ahead of its time. The finish (a roll-up pin the second before time expires) is one of those finishes that you have to do every now and again just to keep the threat of it believable for those times when you want to create drama by having someone kick out of it, and this was as good a time to do it as any, as having such a long and even match will allow the loser to still get over in defeat.
MAXX PAYNE PROMO - I guess he's the heel based on his general meanness here. The audio was bad. He paid a patriotic tune at the end. Between that and Dustin's awful hair, I'm still rooting for Payne.
"THE BRITISH BULLDOG" DAVEY BOY SMITH vs. "WILD" BILL IRWIN - 1/10
For those of you wondering how Davey Boy was allowed to use the "British Bulldog" nickname without WWE sending a nasty legal letter, this was his first appearance in WCW. I'm sure the letter was in the mail by the next morning. Jesse tries to troll Schiavone by asking him by why it's called an "Irish" whip, but Tony doesn't miss a beat and claims that it was invented in a wrestling match in Ireland in 1863... and Jesse comes right back, not missing a beat either, by complimenting Tony on how much he has learned. This was awesome. The match itself, unfortunately, was not. It was basically a squash that took way too long.
ERIC BISCHOFF INTERVIEWS PAUL ORNDORFF - Cactus Jack shows up with a shovel so we jump-start...
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH:
Cactus Jack vs. Paul Orndorff - 8.25/10
Jack chased Orndorff around with the shovel but got cut off when he was distracted by referee Randy Anderson taking it away from him because I guess there are DQs in this Falls Count Anywhere Match? This match was a wild brawl that would have fit in perfectly in the late 90s when such things were all the rage, but with a very 1980's finish. I also enjoyed the way they worked some limb-work in there, too. My only other major note from this match is that MICK FOLEY IS CRAZY! I know that's not news or anything but holy sh*t what type of crazy man does that sunset flip from the apron to the concrete floor!
SMW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Prichard)(c) (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock N' Roll Express - 7.5/10
A great match made out of nothing but athleticism and the most basic of tag team psychology. In other words, a typical Rock N' Roll Express vs. Stan Lane & partner managed by Jim Cornette match. Wonderful babyface vs. heel dynamics, with one of the best babyface combinations ever taking on some heels who have no qualms about making themselves look bad for our amusement and yet still managing to look dangerous when the time comes.
We next got another very brief clips from the White Castle of Fear video. This time they made sure to show us just Sting and some hot chicks looking seductive.
WCW UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH:
Dustin Rhodes(c) vs. Maxx Payne - 5.75/10
Dustin' arm got worked over. I probably would have given this a 6/10 if not for the disappointing DQ finish on a PPV. They kept fighting afterwards but Dustin won the brawl so why not just let him win the match?
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
The Great Muta(c) (w/Hiro Matsuda) vs. Barry Windham - 7.5/10
Before the match Ric Flair came out for a quick interview with Tony Schiavone, then joined the commentary team for this match. You can add commentary to the list of things Ric Flair is great at.
They spent a chunk of this match in a grounded side headlock and never once was it boring. They did a good job of building things up throughout and did a great job of making this feel like a grueling struggle for a worthy prize. The only negative is that Windham occasionally came off as kind of heelish while he was on offense, but the size difference made that almost unavoidable. Windham picked up the win to become world champion for the first time in his career. Flair got into the ring to strap the belt around the new champ's waist.
UNSANCTIONED LIGHTS OUT WHITE CASTLE OF FEAR LEATHER STRAP MATCH:
Sting vs. Vader (w/Harley Race) - 8.25/10
Picture every lazy, predictable same sh*t, different day strap match you've ever seen. This was the opposite of that. This was dramatic and creative and exciting and holy sh*t did Vader bleed. Awesome match.
BARRY WINDHAM PROMO - Good babyface new champ "I'll be a fighting champion" stuff.
This was an excellent show from WCW. Not just the wrestling but everything else as well. The crowd was hot, the announcing was excellent, and the overall atmosphere of the show was a wonderful little time capsule. I felt like I was watching a sporting event, and that's how it should be. Everyone should check this show out!