PPV REVIEW: WCW WrestleWar '92

WCW WrestleWar 92 Review - Event Poster

May 17, 1992
Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida
WCW WrestleWar '92 was the last of four WrestleWar PPVs produced by the company, and man, what a way to go out. 
For months, Paul E. Dangerously's determined efforts to destroy World Championship Wrestling had seen him assemble a small army of the promotion's best heels known as The Dangerous Alliance. While the group's primary target was World Heavyweight Champion, Sting, in gunning for that target, they'd also acquired a gang of enemies who were hungry for revenge against Dangerously's Alliance for multiple acts of ner-do-wellery. 
Tonight, The Dangerous Alliance would finally face all of their rivals -banded together under the leadership of Sting and dubbed Sting's Squadron- in a War Games match for the ages.
Here's what went down. 

Are You Ready for War Games?

The final ever WrestleWar PPV kicked off with a very basic video centered around the upcoming War Games match between Sting’s Squadron and The Dangerous Alliance.

From there, we went live to the arena where Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff not only put over the magnitude of tonight’s match but also questioned whether champion Sting was fully recovered from a recent rib injury.
WCW WrestleWar 92  - Jim Ross & Jesse 'The Body' Ventura

Down on the arena floor, announcer Jim Ross and Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura gave us further hype for the main event, the latter reminding us that he was a legit Vietnam war veteran and thus someone who knew what real war was all about.

Ross and Ventura were also pumped for our opening contest, with The Body favoring US tag team champions Taylor Made Man & Greg Valentine because, as he put it, The Fabulous Freebirds had been spending too much time singing rock ‘n’ roll and not enough time wrestling.

WCW United States Tag Team Championship
WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Taylor Made Man & Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin)

As he marched to the ring with his partner, The Taylor Made Man, Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine looked pissed off that he even had to be there.
WCW WrestleWar 92  - Terry Taylor & Greg Valentine

By the end of this one, I started to feel exactly the same way.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a decent match competently performed by four guys who knew what they were doing,  but in this writer’s mind, it just went on for far, far too long.

Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin had the upper hand in the early going, countering the champion’s every attempt at mounting an offensive by working over their arms.

It wasn’t until Taylor and Valentine, unable to simply out-wrestle their opponents, resorted to dirty heel tactics that they were able to mount any kind of momentum, cutting Hayes off from his corner and working over.
WCW WrestleWar 92  - Bill Alfonso stands ready as Michael Hayes squares off agaisnt Greg Valentine


As I say, there was nothing wrong with it, but the match never seemed to really go anywhere despite the fans being heavily invested in it.

The ending was telegraphed not by any of the competitors or even referee Bill Alfonso but by a stagehand who cameras accidentally captured placing the tag team titles in the corner of the ring, meaning they’d be ready for the champions to grab once the bell rung.

From there, Garvin outsmarted his opponents, knocking Valentine on his butt and planting Taylor with a DDT to bring the gold to Bad Street USA.
Your Winners and New United States Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds 

Prior to the next match, Bischoff and Schiavone analyzed the Freebirds’ win and discussed Johnny B. Badd’s relative lack of major wins in WCW.

Hopefully, Badd would be able to pick one up as he went into battle against Tracy Smothers.

Young Pistol Tracy vs. Johnny B. Badd

Badd danced and prances his way to the ring and then stopped at the guard rail so that young kids could stuff dollar bills into his garter because, apparently, nobody thought that was inappropriate in the early 90s.
WCW WrestleWar 92  - Tracy Smothers vs. Johnny B. Badd

From there, the future Wild Man went at it in a reasonably exciting match with Tracy Smothers, who was clearly just there to make his opponent look good.

It wasn’t that The Young Pistol didn’t make a good account of himself, he got in a fair amount of offense, taking Johnny Down with a succession of dropkicks and slapping him in a chin lock, but it was obvious from the get-go that the whole point of this match was to get Badd over.

To that end, it succeeded.

Given how well Johnny was presented here, it came as no surprise when he knocked Smothers on his ass with a punch and pinned him.
Your Winner: Johnny B. Badd

Last seen standing by Ronnie Garvin’s side at The Great American Bash 1988, Precious was apparently now back on the fold, accompanying her man and Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes for a backstage interview with Missy Hyatt to celebrate their big US title win.
WCW WrestleWar 92  - Missy Hyatt interviews The Fabulous Freebirds


Hayes and Garvin really said nothing of note. The latter reminded us that the Fabulous Freebirds had done exactly what they said they were going to do, while the former got really excited about Lynyrd Skynyrd and just basically shouted about southern rock ‘n’ roll for a bit.

Back in the arena, Bischofe and Schiavone gave us their insights into the upcoming match between Scotty Flamingo and Marcus Alexander Bagwell.

According to our analysts, Bagwell’s rookie year was over and he now had a lot to prove against a man who had been picking up wins left and right on WCW TV.

Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Scotty Flamingo

Flamingo came strutting to the ring wearing ripped jeans, a hat, and a long, white coat with a picture of himself on the back. Drenched in charisma and showcasing a kind of arrogant flamboyance, the man stepping through the ropes here at WrestleWar ‘92 was a million miles removed from Scott Levy’s most famous creation.
WCW WrestleWar 92 Review - Scotty Flamingo prepares to face Marcus Bagwell

A good few years before he got all moody and started skulking around in bingo halls, Flamingo went at it with the future Buff Daddy in a match that had some good action but was largely devoid of heat.

As Jim Ross repeatedly stressed the fact that the match would have implications for the light-heavyweight division (and thus who would eventually challenge Brian Pillman for the title), the two men traded the advantage several times until Bagwell planted Flamingo with a fisherman's suplex.

Scotty got his foot on the ropes and got back to his feet as his opponent celebrates a little too soon, thinking he'd won the match.

From there, a simple shot into the corner, a roll-up, and a handful of tights were enough to put Scotty Flamingo one step closer to light-heavyweight gold.
Your Winner: Scotty Flamingo

A quick promo for our next WCW PPV, Beach Blast '92 aired next, promising us lots of exciting action and -I quote- plenty of "bodacious babes."

Ah, the '90s.

JYD IS Taken Out

Ross and Ventura then took us back to Superbrawl 2, when Junkyard Dog returned to WCW and saved Ron Simmons from a beatdown at the hands of Cactus Jack and Abdullah the Butcher.

That was supposed to lead to a tag team match tonight in which Simmons and JYD would seek revenge against Cactus and Mr. Hughes.

Before the Dog could even get to the ring, however, he was viciously assaulted by the man from Truth or Consequences and forced to return to the back.

Ron Simmons vs. Mr. Hughes

Simmons eventually returned to the ring and took out both Hughes and Cactus with a double clothesline, after which referee Bill Alfonso ordered Jack to stay outside the ring.
WCW WrestleWar 92 - Cactus Jack & Mr. Hughes

Apparently, we were now getting a singles match.

Foolishly, this was never actually announced to the crowd. Even Ross and Ventura spent most of the match in a state of confusion, questioning what the hell was actually going on.

The match was precisely what you'd expect from Ron Simmons versus Mr. Hughes.

Whether that's good or not probably depends entirely on how much of a fan you are of both men.

As for me, well, let’s just say I’ve seen worse matches.

To the shock of no one, Simmons picked up the win with a three-point tackle.
Your Winner: Ron Simmons

As Jesse Ventura teased a surprise for Beach Blast, we moved straight on to our next match.

Todd Champion vs. Super Invader (w/ Harley Race)

As a kid living in England during the early 90s, I didn’t get to see much World Championship Wrestling on TV. So, for years, the only way I ever saw Super Invader was through magazines and a WCW sticker album which I still have in my parent's loft back in the UK.
WCW WrestleWar 92 - Super Invader overpowers Todd Champion

(As soon as I get it back, I'm totally reviewing that sticker album!)

From the pictures alone, I thought Super Invader (Hercules Hernandez with red pantyhose on his face) looked cool as shit.

Many, many years later, writing this WrestleWar ‘92 review finally gives me an opportunity to watch my first-ever Super Invader match.

Even now, I think he looks pretty badass, though I do question how WCW expected us to believe that this clearly very white dude was from Bangkok, Thailand.

Although this wasn’t a great match by any stretch, I still say this guy could’ve been a contender in early 90s WCW had he been paired up with better caliber workers who could get a good match out of him.

Alas, Tod Champion wasn’t one of those workers. Despite breaking away from the awfully-named Firebreaker Chip, Champion was still billed as hailing from “WCW Special Forces.”

Not that he had much force at all in this one-sided affair where his entire offense consisted of catching Invader coming off the ropes with a foot to the mush, getting in a couple of punches, and then going right back to getting his ass kicked.
WCW WrestleWar 92 - Super Invader and Harley Race


For the third match in a row, the winner was never in doubt. Super Invader picked up another win.

He looked cool, especially for the time, but would eventually fade into obscurity.
Your Winner: Super Invader 

Up next, a match that I’m not sure anyone wanted to see:

Richard Morton vs. Big Josh

Ricky Morton had become bland, boring, and directionless since turning heel. Every time he took over the match, it was straight down to the mat for a bunch of lifeless rest holds that failed to get the audience excited.

WCW WrestleWar 92 - Ricky Morton vs. Big Josh

Big Josh faired a little better at popping the crowd, throwing his weight around and knocking seven shades of shite out of the former Rock ‘n’ Roll Expresser.

The result was a match that didn’t actually suck or anything but just kind of happened, a decent filler bout but nothing more.

Of course, Jesse Ventura spent the whole match talking about Big Josh’s lack of hygiene, so I had to laugh when Josh hit his Northern Exposure finisher (think Earthquake splash), and all Jesse could think about was “Josh’s big, stinking dirty pants, right in Ricky Morton’s face.”
Your Winner: Big Josh

Before the next contest, Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff gave their thoughts and predictions on our upcoming light heavyweight championship match between former prime partners, The Z-Man and Brian Pillman.
WCW WrestleWar 92 - Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman exchange words

This took us to an exchange between the two on WCW Saturday Night in which the upcoming challenger got angry about being attacked by Tracy Smothers and “Scotty The Flamingo” but promised to give them a title shot down the line.

Naturally, this raised the ire of the champion, who was none too happy about being overlooked.

The two “best friends” almost came to blows in an enjoyable segment where Pillman in particular, looked impressive:

That match was next.

World Championship Wrestling World Light Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Light Heavyweight Champion Brian Pillman vs. The Z-Man

This was a genuinely exciting contest that may well have been Tom Zenk’s finest hour.
WCW WrestleWar 92 - Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman (this referee, lol)

After a somewhat frosty handshake, the two former US tag team champions proved themselves to be fairly evenly matched in terms of speed, agility, and ground-based offense until the pretense of friendship wore off, and each man went all out to win.

Enjoyable from start to finish, this light heavyweight contest really made you believe that tonight was going to be Z-Man’s night, the challenger getting a couple of near falls that popped the crowd in fine fashion.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Zenk came off the top, hoping to end the match with a top rope drop kick. However, the champion moved and jackknifed his opponent into a cover, a count, and a victory.

This was a fantastic, compelling match that combined quality wrestling with masterful storytelling.

Definitely worth a watch.
Your Winner and Still Light Heavyweight Champion: Brian Pillman

Before moving on to anything else, another Beach Blast commercial featured more bodacious babes and promised us that the event would be, ahem, “beachin.”

WCW World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka

If The Steiners win, they get a shot at the IWGP tag team titles.

As good as the earlier lights heavyweight title match was, this hard-hitting clash between reigning WCW tag team champions The Steiner Brothers, and their Japanese challengers Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka was even better.
WCW Wrestlewar 92 - The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka

Thoroughly enthralling from bell to bell, this lengthy match saw both teams holding nothing back as they tried to mangle, maim, and destroy one another.

An early highlight came when the challengers set Rick Steiner up for a doomsday-like move. With the Dog-Faced Gremlin perched on Fujinami’s shoulders, Iizuka dove off with a crossbody, only to be caught by Rick and powerslammed in mid-air.

It was beautiful.

The rest of the time, the two teams either took it to the mat with some solid submission moves, clobbered one another, or suplexed the ever-living shit out of one another.

No matter what they did, it made for a fantastic match that ended with a win for WCW’s finest when Rick drilled Iizuka with a match-winning belly-to-belly superplex.

If you came to wrestling late and the only things you know about The Steiners are Big Poppa Pump, Steiner Math, and the fact that Rick Steiner exists, do yourself a favor:

Track down this match, their incredible contest against Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki from the first NJPW/WCW Supershow, as well as their outing against Hase and Masa Chono from Clash of the Champions 15. You’ll soon see this team we’re practically untouchable in their prime.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Finally, it was time, almost.

As the stage was set for this battle for the ages, Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura talked up the War Games main event before sending it to Schiavone & Bischoff for some last-minute analysis.

Other than noting Sting’s recent rib injury (a prime target if ever there was one), their main focus was on the fact that Sting’s Squadron was a team of five individuals, whereas The Dangerous Alliance was (despite some vague ‘recent controversies’ noted by Bischoff) a cohesive unit.

Would that be the difference maker?
Would Sting’s Squadron be able to trust Nikita Koloff?
And who would surrender or submit in The Match Beyond?

Our announcers wanted all of these questions answered, so they threw it to Gary Michael Capetta to get things underway.

War Games
The Dangerous Alliance (Ravishing Rick Rude, Stunning Steve Austin, The Cruncher Larry Zybysko, The Enforcer Arn Anderson, and Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Paul E. Dangerously & Madusa) vs. Sting’s Squadron (WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, and Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat.

I’m willing to go on record and say that this was the best War Games match ever, a thrilling brawl for the ages in which everyone played their roles perfectly.

Barry Windham and Steve Austin kicked things off for their respective teams, with Windham gaining a clear advantage in the opening five minutes and beating Austin until he was a bloody mess.

The heels then won the coin toss (obviously), meaning Rick Rude could come to his partner’s rescue.

Rude was followed by Ricky Steamboat, who picked up his rivalry with Rude until he was attacked by our next entrant, the War Games veteran Arn Anderson.
WCW Wrestlewar 92 - Paul E. Dangerous prepares the Dangerous Alliance for War Games


A fired-up Dustin Rhodes came next, taking out Double A and Austin with a fire and intensity that delighted the crowd, though not as much as when Windham turned Anderson upside down and jammed his former tag team partner’s head between the two rings.

Larry Zybysko then entered the fray. As he did so, Madusa climbed to the top of the cage and threw Dangerously’s phone down to Anderson to use as a weapon, but Sting also climbed up and forced her to bail.

Speaking of the Stinger, he was next to enter the ring, followed by Bobby Eaton and, finally, Nikita Koloff.

Koloff’s loyalties had been questioned in the build-up to this match, teasing the possibility that he may turn on Sting.
WCW Wrestlewar 92 - Sting vs. Nikitta Koloff


Fortunately for the world champion, those fears were alleviated when Koloff saved Sting from the clutches of Arn Anderson and -after a brief but intense stare-down- embraced him.

The duo then proceeded to lay waste to everyone in sight, and the Match Beyond was officially on.

All ten men waged war on each other in an exciting and bloody battle that kept the crowd utterly enthralled.

The match was so hard-hitting that one of the turnbuckles came loose. Bobby Eaton seemed to spend about two hours putting together the metal bar that connected the buckle to the ring post, then handed it to Zybysko and grabbed hold of Sting.

Big Bad Larry then swung at Sting, but the champ ducked, and Eaton took the full force of the metal bar across his shoulder.

At that point, Sting took out Zybysko and took advantage of Eaton’s now-damaged shoulder, applying a simple arm bar that forced the former Midnight Express star to tap out.
Your Winners: Sting’s Squadron

Battered, weary, and soaked in blood, the victors made a triumphant return to the locker room while, in the ring, The Dangerous Alliance all berated Zybysko for costing them the match.

Before we could see them turn on him, we got some final words, first from Schiavone and Bischoff, and then from Ross and Ventura, the latter duo promising us even more action when WCW returned to PPV with Beach Blast ‘92 later that June.

On the whole, I’d say WrestleWar ‘92 was a good show.

Sure, with the company’s ten biggest stars all competing in the main event, the undercard was a little lacking in star power, leaving us with underwhelming bouts like Ricky Morton vs. Big Josh.
However, from the light heavyweight title match onwards, this show delivered. Pillman/Z-Man was compelling, the tag team title match proved why The Steiners were the best team in the world back in the early 90s, and the War Games match was truly one for the ages.

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  1. That was a dumb ending though with Sting winning with a Chris Jericho ARMBAR!!! Should have just won it with the Bret Clark ScorpionShooter Dearthlock!