Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Monday, 11 April 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Wrestlemania XIX

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Event poster
March 30, 2003
Safeco Field, Seattle, Washington

Just recently, WWE fans saw Stone Cold Steve Austin return to action and open up a can of Whoop Ass on Kevin Owens in the main event of Wrestlemania 38's Saturday show. 

The match was significant for being the first time we'd seen The Texas Rattlesnake compete in an official match since Wrestlemania 19, where he capped off an impressive three-'Mania trilogy against long-time rival, The Rock. 

With that in mind, now seems like the most appropriate time to go back to that memorable night in 2003 to review the first Wrestlemania show promoted under the WWE name after the Panda People put paid to the WWF a year earlier. 

Join me, won't you, as we journey to Seattle, Washington for Austin's last match, Brock Lesnar's first Wrestlemania match, and a whole bunch of other entertainment. 

Welcome to Wrestlemania 

Tonight’s show began with a dramatic opening video in which various superstars reminded us what a truly monumental occasion Wrestlemania was, and talked about how they were going to shine on The Grandest Stage of Them All. 

An epic pyro routine followed as Limp Bizkit blasted through the PA system and Jim Ross welcomed us to the show.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Raw announcers Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler

Barely able to contain himself, Ross declared that he was just as excited tonight as he was back in 1993 when calling his first ‘Mania back at the oft-reviled Wrestlemania IX while his ever-present broadcaster colleague, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler was likewise as giddy about tonight.

Passing over to Smackdown’s Michael Cole & Tazz, the blue brand announcers put over what a huge event we were about to witness before sending it to the ring for our opening contest.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Matt Hardy V1 (w/ Shannon Moore) vs. Rey Mysterio

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio

As opening matches go, this certainly wasn’t the longest one you’ll ever see, but it was still pretty entertaining for what it was.

Rey Mysterio was making his Wrestlemania debut here while Matt Hardy, according to his latest Matt Facts, was competing in his fourth.

Together, the two crammed a lot into a few minutes, giving us an explosive opener that got the crowd to come alive.

Harry’s excellent character work as V1 combined with Mysterio’s always dazzling offense and some well-placed interference from Shannon Moore all helped this one to deliver.

Towards the end, Mysterio looked to have Hardy’s number, only for the dastardly champion to sneak an advantage and score the pin with some heavy assistance from the ring ropes.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Matt Hardy V1

Out in the back, The Miller Light Girls arrived at the arena in a limo. Michael Cole was apparently excited to see them in a catfight, but first, he had more important matters to attend to.

Namely, he had to take us back to Sunday Night Heat where Nathan Jones had apparently been taken out in the back.

That meant that Jones could no longer team with The Undertaker tonight, leaving Big Evil to go it alone against Big Show and A-Train.

Keep On Rollin’, Baby

Up next, Tony Chimel introduced us to what he genuinely called “the WWE’s favourite band in the whole world,” Limp Bizkit.

I’m not saying Fred Durst’s nu-metal crew didn’t have some good tunes, but Chimel’s line sounded incredibly forced and, honestly, kind of immature and weird for a pro wrestling event.

Anyway, the band launched into a rendition of Rollin’.

It was pretty good, but all this long-time Korn fan could focus on was the fact that they had Brian ‘Head’ Welch jamming with them on guitar.

Anyway, towards the end of the performance, Undertaker appeared on his motorcycle and made it to the ring for our next bout of the evening.

Handicap Match
The Undertaker vs. The Big Show & Albert

I honestly don’t know why this match gets so much hate because it really wasn’t that bad.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - The Undertaker ready for battle

To be fair, it wasn’t great either, but it certainly was nowhere near as dull or as boring as some people would have you believe.

Rather, it was a competently performed big man match that didn’t exactly set the place on fire but didn’t stink up the joint either.

After coming in strong in the early going, the numbers game eventually got the better of The Undertaker until Nathan Jones hit the ring to even the score.

The level playing field then gave ‘Taker an opportunity to drill A-Train with the tombstone piledriver and go 11-0 at Wrestlemania.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Backstage, The Miller Light girls found Stacy Kiebler and Torrie Wilson. The two sets of ladies fawned over each other in a cringe-inducing segment before the announcers showed us a clip from
Heat of Lance Storm and William Regal retaining the tag team titles thanks to an assist from The Dudleyz.

That clip had nothing to do with the segment before or after it, which made it seem a little out of place, but there you go.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Victoria (w/ Steven Richards) vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jazz

Despite a few moments where things looked a little messy and haphazard, this was a good effort from start to finish.

All three women performed their roles well to give us a good match that had plenty to enjoy from start to finish.

Following a good battle in which the champion and her two challengers were all given a moment to shine, Trish Stratus delivered a Chick Kick to Victoria to take the title.
Your Winner and New WWE Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

Out in the back, The Rock was in full-on heel mode as he admonished ‘the people’ for turning against him and promised to finally…FINALLY…beat Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania once and for all.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Jonathan Coachman interviews The Rock

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero) vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno

This is one match your writer could have watched all day long, or at least for a good few minutes longer than it actually lasted.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Fast, explosive, and full of just damn good wrestling, this was a very enjoyable match from beginning to end.

For me, the highlight was Chris Benoit pressing Eddie Guerrero into the air and catching him on the way down with the crippler crossface.

Of course, the really interesting thing here was that the champions, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas, we’re pretty much classed as the underdogs here, their age and experience dwarfed by those of their opponents.

Despite that, Kurt Angle’s boys made their way to victory in an impressive win that brought to end a very good match indeed.
Your Winners and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas

Returning to the back, Torrie and Stacy argued about who was responsible for Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon or Hulk Hogan.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Stacy, Torrie, and The Miller Light Girls

This led to the Miller Light girls arguing exactly the same thing before deciding to settle their argument in a catfight


Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels

I won’t lie to you, as a big fan of both these men, this was the one Wrestlemania 19 I’ve been looking forward to the most, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Before the combatants made their way to the ring, we got a video looking at their rivalry.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels

To sum up, Chris Jericho had grown up admiring Shawn Michaels, had strived to be like him, and had often been compared to him, but now the star’s ego had gotten the better of him and he believed he was far superior to his one-time idol, even going so far as claiming to be the one who would end HBK’s career.

Tonight, Jericho more than held his own with Michaels, proving that if he hadn’t yet surpassed his hero, he had certainly reached the same level as him.

Together, the two performed an absolutely enthralling match that was the best thing on the card up to that point by a solid mile.

And that’s saying something given that ‘Mania XIX has so far been a good show.

After an excellent match, Michaels picked up the win, though not before helping Y2J to look superb.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels

In fact, Jericho’s efforts in this one had been so good that they’d endeared the evil heel to the live crowd and had them cheering along for him as much for HBK.

Fortunately, Jericho wasn’t about to embrace an accidental face turn. Sure, he did embrace Michaels after the match, but then kicked him right in the balls to ensure his heeling ways stayed intact.

Crack Addict

Backstage, evil referee Sylvain Grenier made his way into Mr. McMahon’s office, after which Tony Chimel told us that Wrestlemania 19 had set a new Safeco Field attendance record of 54,097.

Next, Chimel reintroduced us to WWE’s favorite band, Limp Bizkit.

This time, the band were here to perform the show’s theme song, Crack Addict.

I don’t know why, but I find it hilarious that a company that today is PG to the point of running a sterile product once had a song called Crack Addict as the official theme to their marquee event.

I’m not saying it wasn’t a monster jam or anything, just a funny choice for a theme song.

Catfight Time

After teasing it all night long, the two Miller Catfight Girls came out next to scrap, but couldn’t get started until Stacy and Torrie decided they both wanted a piece of the action.

Cue a minute or so of four attractive girls faffing around a giant bed and stripping each other to their bras.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - The Catfight girls celebrate

I know there will be people out there who found this hugely entertaining, and I know that all four women were stunning in their own right, but if the intention was for this to be sexy then it failed miserably.

More embarrassing than erotic, the whole thing ended when two of the girls did the whole rolling-around-on-the-floor-and-accidentally-rolling-over-the-official-who-really-enjoys-it bit that happened in every match of this type the company ever did.

This time, they did it with the match’s MC, Jonathan Coachman, and when the announcer seemed to enjoy it a little too much, they pulled his pants down before one of the Miller girls covered him while Torrie counted the pin.

I’ve no idea what just happened, but I know it wasn’t good.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Booker T

Yes, this was the match that was roundly criticized, not only for Triple H going over but for his problematic comments that “someone like [Booker T] doesn’t get to be world champion.”

Whatever problems you might have with the whole HHH/Booker rivalry of 2003, there’s no denying that their match at Wrestlemania XIX was a pretty solid affair.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Nick Patrick has words with Booker T and HHH before their match

Not that it seemed to start that way.

The early moments of this bout seemed dull and almost entirely devoid of heat, but the longer it went on, the longer both combatants managed to find their grove and deliver a good match.

At one point, The Game busted out an Indian Deathlock which Jim Ross sold as though the champion had just utilized some ancient technique not seen since the dark ages.

True, it was a move we didn’t normally see Hunter use, but Ross’s description of it was, as with many of JR’s calls, a little over the top.

Fortunately, the challenger was able to break out of that hold and fight back, even breaking out a crowd-popping Harlem Hangover but, alas, it wasn’t enough.

After both men had absolutely destroyed each other, The Cerebral Assassin barely managed to land a Pedigree and scraped his way to victory.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

Post-match, a visibly broken HHH was helped to the back by the Nature Boy.

A Match 20 Years in the Making

After a quick commercial for WWE Shop, we got a look back at the intense rivalry between Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan.

The two were at loggerheads over who was responsible for the runaway success of Wrestlemania and Hulkamania, with Vince McMahon claiming -fairly- that he hated Hogan for turning his back on him, joining WCW, and even testifying against him in federal court.

The two would meet tonight in a match that saw Hogan’s career on the line.

That was good stuff and as engaging a story as you could hope for to get us to what we were about to witness.

Street Fight
Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon

If Hogan loses, he must retire.

No word of a lie, this was a tremendous match.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Vince McMahon & Hulk Hogan

Ok, sure, it wasn’t the kind of technical classic you might have seen from two talented, full-time workers in their prime, but it was still damn good.

Not just “good for a Vince vs. Hogan match” either but edge-of-your-seat captivating kind of good.

The street fight stipulation gave both men an opportunity to play to their strengths, with Vince McMahon’s facial expressions telling the story better than any wrestling move ever could.

Seriously, only William Regal told stories with his face better than McMahon did here on this night.

Not that he simply spent the whole thing gurning and grunting. 

At one point, the Chairman of the Board set up a ladder on the outside and crashed down onto a battered and bloody Hogan with a flying leg drop.

Sending his nemesis back into the ring, Vince next retrieved a led pipe from
Under the ring and came peeking up over the ring apron with the most brilliant evil look.

Things then took a turn for the interesting when Rowdy Roddy Piper randomly showed up, teased hitting Vince with the pipe but battered Hogan instead in a move which, though it got a good pop, you could see coming a mile away.

Finally, after some inevitable shenanigans involving dodgy referee Sylvian Grenier, Hogan made his comeback and got the better of Vince after three Leg Drops of Doom.
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan

Post match, Shane McMahon made his way to the ring to check on his bloody and defeated father.

A class act, Hogan showed that he had no problem with Shane and even held the ropes for him, but while the Hulkster showed some respect, Vince had none.

His face drenched in blood, his body a wreck, McMahon sat up and gave Hogan the finger.

It made for a fantastic visual.

The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

By now there probably aren’t many people left who haven’t seen this match, but if you haven’t, let me assure you, it was an absolute banger.

From their IC title match at In Your House: D-Generation-X, all the way through to their ‘Mania 17 main event, Rock and Austin always delivered the goods, but there was something extra special about this match.

That was partly the intensity of the match itself, but it was mostly the captivating character work of Hollywood Rock, who was extra entertaining now that he was on his way to movie stardom.

At one point, The Great One even put on Austin’s trademark vest as he continued his assault on his opponent, making for one of the most memorable moments of the whole contest.

Not that this was a one-sided affair.

Knowing it would be his last match, Stone Cold left it all in the ring, taking the fight to his opponent in one of the best matches on the card.

Given the quality of everything we’d seen so far, the fact that Austin and Rock still managed to deliver a stand out match speaks volumes to their talent and superstar status.

Unfortunately for Austin, leaving it all in the ring and being one of the biggest stars in history wasn’t enough.

After three brutal Rock Bottoms, the Texas Rattlesnake was covered and pinned by his greatest rival.
Your Winner: The Rock

After a fantastic match, The Rock leaned in and spoke to Austin. Years later, it would be revealed that he thanked Stone Cold and told him that he loved him.

The Brahma Bull then lept over the barricade to embrace his family before riding off into the sunset.

Finally, Austin’s music played and he was given a standing ovation as he walked to the back one last time.

It would be 19 years before we’d see him compete in a proper match again.

WWE Championship
WWE Champion Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar

This was one hell of a match that only got better as time went on.

WWE Wrestlemania 19 Review - Brock Lesnar looks battered after winning the Championship title belt

Given their backgrounds, it was no surprise that Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar started off with some solid mat wrestling, each man trying to get the better of one another but finding themselves fairly evenly matched.

When taking it to the mat didn’t work, champ and challenger upped the intensity factor and proceeded to give us a truly tremendous match which forced even the most jaded pro wrestling fans to sit up and take note.

What I loved about this one is that it was a straight-up pro wrestling match.

No wild, Attitude Era style brawls around the ring, no international objects or outside interference, just two of the best in the game plying their trade with gusto.

After an incredible effort, Brock laid out Ange and went for the shooting star press but landed on his head in a moment that fans still talk about to this day.

Looking to capitalise, Angle made the cover, but only got two and moments later ate the match-ending F5.
Your Winner and New WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

Post-match, Lesnar looked more dazed and destroyed than we’ve probably ever seen him.

He was then embraced by Angle in a display of sportsmanship as one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time came to a close.

From start to finish, Wrestlemania 19 was an almost flawless show.

Only the Undertaker match was subpar, but even that was nowhere near as awful as some cynical fans would have you believe.

Meanwhile, the undercard entertained, Hogan/McMahon surpassed all expectations, and Rock/Austin and Angle/Lesnar gave us two all-time classics that are still revered to this day.

It’s hard to say exactly what the best Wrestlemania of all time is, but make no mistake about it, the 19th installment of WWE’s flagship event is surely a top contender.

Monday, 4 April 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991)

March 21, 1991
Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Event graphic

The first WCW/New Japan Supershow is one of the few more noticeable omissions from the WWE Network’s huge archive of Pay Per Views.

As such, I’m reviewing this event as it’s presented in a video I found on DailyMotion.

You can watch the video for yourself below, or read on to read my thoughts on the first of three annual Supershows promoted by WCW and NJPW.

The Rumble in the Rising Sun

After a standard TV opening featuring clips of all your favourite WCW Superstars, announcers Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the Tokyo Eggdome before putting over the magnitude of tonight’s major event.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone get set to call all the action

The duo then showed us clips from a recent press conference and ‘Launch party event’ (a giant buffet, basically) while explaining that our matches tonight would adopt Japanese rules in the form of a 20 count for count outs (rather than 10) and the rule that titles would change hands on a disqualification.

With all that out of the way, it was onto our first match.

Flyin’ Brian Pillman, The Z-Man, and Tim Horner vs. Takayuki Iizuka, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and Shiro Koshinaka

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Tom Zenk gets stretched

You know, I’m watching this about 10 minutes after wrapping up my last WCW review, and I’m honestly just relieved to see that Brian Pillman was OK after getting dropped on his head by Sid in that nasty spot at the end of WCW Wrestle War ‘91.

Here, he looked in fine form as he, Z-Man, and Tim Horner dominated the bulk of this enjoyable match.

As they did so, Ross further explained that not only was throwing someone over the top not a grounds for disqualification, it was an actual artform here in Japan.

He and Schiavone also explained that the lack of reaction from the crowd wasn’t a sign of boredom but rather respect.

That was until Horner unleashed a poor version of a moonsault and the audience just laughed their collective ass off at him.

Anyway, After a good effort, things broke down between the six men, resulting in a win for the Japanese team when Takayuki Iizuka planted Horner with a truly beautiful dragon suplex.
Your Winners: Takayuki Iizuka, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and Shiro Koshinaka

Moving swiftly on...

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Jushin “Thunder” Liger v Akira Nogami

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Akira Nogami gets set to battle Jushin 'Thunder' Liger

As this one got underway, our announcers told us that Akira Nogami has forced himself to take a year out to train after losing to Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger the last time they met for for the title.

Unfortunately for Nogami, it didn’t seem to do him much good as he succumbed to Liger’s top-rope DDT after just four minutes.

The good news is that everything leading up to those four minutes was golden.

Though short, this was a fine, fine match indeed.
Your Winner and Still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jushin Liger.

After another word with our announcers, it was back to the action.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Arn Anderson puts a hurting on Masahiro Chono

This was another solid match with non-stop action and a lot to like about it.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham heeled it up big time here, using every trick in the book that they knew to get the advantage over Masahiro Chono and Mr Saito, but the NJPW boys just wouldn’t be kept down.

Eventually, the latter of the two drilled both of his opponents with some wicked Saito suplexes, but Windham popped back to his feet and Anderson got the fall.
Your Winners: Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

Post match, the Japanese men proved that they couldn’t be kept down and sent the Horsemen packing.

Before the next match, Schiavone and Ross thought we might want to look at how different the Japanese concession stands were to their US counterparts.

The Big Cat vs. El Gigante

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - El Gigante

I honestly thought this was going to be awful, but it really wasn’t.

The Japanese crowd were clearly in love with the enormous El Gigante, and the Argentinian clearly loved the attention.

Playing up to the crowd, the big man pulverised The Big Cat in no time at all, finishing him off with a huge vertical suplex and The Claw.

OK, so Gigante was never a great wrestler in terms of his technical ability, but he was very obviously having the time of his life here, and this fan for one found it rather endearing.
Your Winner: El Gigante

Moving on quickly…

WCW World Tag Team Championship vs. IWGP World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

As The Steiner Brothers made their way to ring, JR told us that Rick & Scott were not only the WCW world tag team champions but also technically the US champs as well, so if they won tonight they’d have three sets of tag belts simultaneously.


The first of two winner-takes-all title-versus-title matches then got underway, and quickly turned into one of the best matches this fan has ever seen.

Stiff, brutal, with hard hitting slams and suplexes galore, this match is an absolute must-watch for any serious pro wrestling fan.

Yes, I may be prone to getting overly excited sometimes and rating matches higher than they deserve, but i swear to you that this was a masterpiece.

Of course, it helped tremendously that the crowd were well on the side of Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Hase, a fact that seemed to piss off Scott Steiner to the extend that he flashed us shades of the angry heel character he’d portray at the tail end of the decade.

Speaking of the future Big Poppa Pump, it was he who ended this incredible match by landing the Frankensteiner for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners and New IWGP Tag Team Chanpions (and still WCW tag team champions): The Steiner Brothers

Afterwards, Rick and Scott were handed their titles and a seemingly never-ending assortment of winner’s trophies, all of which they undoubtedly earned.

They also shook hands with their opponents, much to the delight of the live audience.

The Great Muta vs. Sting

A return match, of sorts, from the 1989 Great American Bash, this one saw The Great Muta go after Sting right from the opening bell before the two waged war on each other in a solid but not spectacular battle.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - The Great Muta wears down Sting

Both men worked hard here, giving us a number of genuinely exciting sequences that flowed well from one to the other to create an exciting match that ended when Muta blinded Sting with the Green Mist and nailed him with a crossbody for the fall.
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, Stint got a modicum of revenge by nailing his rival with a Stinger Splash in the corner and slapping on the Scorpion Deathlock, giving us the great visual of both men’s teams of seconds trying to break it up.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship vs. IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi ‘Dragon’ Fujinami vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Bill Alfonso lays down the law to Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami

To demonstrate the importance of this match, the usual in-ring introductions were preceded by the national anthems of each man’s country.

All the while, Ross and Schiavone went over the rules of this match, noting that while title changes on DQs and 20-count count-outs were still in force, WCW’s over-the-top-rope-DQ rule was also in effect here for the first time tonight.

The announcers all made sure to stress the significance of Bill Alfonso as the only official on record for this match, explaining how it was important to have a single official who knew what he was doing in order to avoid the kind of controversy that went down at the Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas boxing match which has also taken place in the Tokyo Dome.

Both of these points would prove to make a big difference to the ending of this contest.

Before we got there, Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami gave us a battle for the ages.

A lengthy match which went longer than half the other bouts on this card combined, both champions traded the advantage several times in a compelling contest that kept this reviewer hooked from start to finish.

Towards the end, Flair ran right into Alfonso, knocking the official goofy and sending him right out of the ring.

From there, Nature Boy ran at his opponent, only to be backdropped over the top rope, a move which, if you recall, meant an automatic DQ.

Still, with Fonzie laying prone on the outside, there was no one around to make that call, nor was there anyone around when Fujinami rolled up his rival for multiple pinfalls.

Eventually, Fujinami made another cover and, this time, a Japanese official hit the ring to give the NJPW star the win.
Your Winner and New NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Tatsumi Fujinami

Out in the back, Jim Ross killed time before a scheduled press conference by sending us to pre-recorded comments from Sting.

Battered, bruised and covered in green mist, WCW’s franchise player was irate that Muta’s shenanigans were not what he expected when he came to Japan in search of good, old-fashioned competition.

Clearly, this was far from over.

Finally, Fujinami was in the middle of a press conference when an angry Nature Boy stormed in and stole the title, claiming he had won the match all along.

The two would meet in a rematch at Superbrawl.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1991 was an excellent card from start to finish.

The last two matches in particular were fantastic, with the tag team title bout being one of the greatest tag matches of all time.

Elsewhere, Sting/Muta, the Junior Heavyweight Championship, the opening six man, and the Horsemen/Chono & Saito matches were all enjoyable in their own right, and even the Gigante/Cat exhibition proved not to be as terrible as it had the potential to be.

All in all, one of WCW’s better PPV efforts and one of the best PPVs of the early 90s.

Monday, 21 March 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Wrestlewar 1991

February 24, 1991
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona

You have to give World Championship Wrestling credit where it’s due. For all the company got wrong during their time, they did a fantastic job in generating interest around the War Games match at WrestleWar 1991.

At least they did for this writer.

In my recent Clash of the Champions 14 review, I talked about how the whole event was essentially one long promotional vehicle to advertise WrestleWar.

I must admit, it worked on me.

By the time I’d finished watching Clash 14, I was more eager to watch this show than any other wrestling event I’ve seen in ages.

Without further ado then, forgive me if I cut this intro short and get right down to Phoenix, Arizona to see if WrestleWar ‘91 was an event worthy of the hype.

It's Time for WrestleWar

Our show tonight began with an ariel camera granting us some beautiful and dramatic shots of the Arizona mountains as a Tony Schiavone voice-over told us that the state would play host to WrestleWar, an event Schiavone actually made it to sound like a legitimately huge deal.

I mean it, I know it’s fun to rag on Mr. Greatest Night in the History of Our Sport and his propensity for hyperbole at the height of the Monday Night Wars, but Schiavone sounded truly genuine here.

That, combined with those fantastic ariel shots made this a really good PPV opener. That itself was surprising because most of WCW’s PPV openers sucked.

Anyway, cutting live to the arena, Schiavone repeated himself about how important tonight was, only this time he was on camera.

The current AEW announcer then hyped the War Games match before running down the rest of the card and, honestly, at this point in our review, I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come.

With his run down complete, Big Tony passed over to our announce team, Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes.

[side note, I’ve been doing this for so long now that every time I write ‘Jim Ross,’ I automatically start to write ‘and Jerry “The King” Lawler’ right after it.]

JR and King The American Dream also expressed their enthusiasm for War Games and with that, it was onto our opening contest.

World Championship Wrestling Six-Man Tag Team Championship
WCW Six-Man Champions Ricky Morton, ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich, and The Junkyard Dog vs. The Big Cat and State Patrol (Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker & Lt. James Earl Wright)

At first, all of my enthusiasm for WrestleWar ‘91 went right out of the window.

Even with big stars like Ricky Morton and The Junkyard Dog involved, this just didn’t seem like something I was going to care about at all.

Not even the fact that this was for the short-lived six-man title did it any favours, as the champions didn’t even have a single title belt between them which made it feel like any other match.

Then, things finally got underway and I was pleasantly surprised.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a bad burner or anything and I’m never going to suggest that you go out of your way just to watch it, but it was a perfectly serviceable opener in which all six men turned up to work.

The result of their cumulative efforts gave us a bout which did its job, entertained and kept things more interesting than it possibly had any right to.

After a decent 10+ minutes action, things broke down into a free-for-all and, in the midst of the chaos, Morton snatched a pinfall to help his team retain their WCW Invisible Title.
Your Winners and Still Six-Man Champions: Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich, and JY

Somewhere out in the arena, Tony Schiavone congratulated Alexandra York on the recent success of The York Foundation.

Having joined York’s enterprise back at Clash of the Champions 14, Terry Taylor stood behind the future Marlena as she boasted about her successful company and her plans to recruit more wrestlers.

With the mic then pointed at him, Taylor put himself over with a decent promo which proved that his time in the York Foundation was the most interesting Terry Taylor would ever be in his whole career.

Wrapping things up, Terri told us that she predicted a win for her man against Tom Zenk in less than 15 minutes and 28 seconds before Other Terry added his own one-word prediction: 


Brad Armstrong vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

As Brad Armstrong made his way to the ring, JR told us that the grappler had a younger brother currently fighting in Operation Desert Storm.

Hmm, wonder whatever happened to that kid?

Meanwhile, Bobby Eaton was billed -as always- as hailing from The Dark Side, something which always amused because it seemed so at odds with the rest of his character.

The two immediately went at it in a flurry of fast-paced, back-and-forth offence that made you believe this was going to turn into one hell of a match.

Before long, however, the babyface Armstrong slapped an armbar on his opponent, followed it up with another armbar, and then, just to spice things up, went right back to the original armbar.

For this writer, it felt like the match went from super exciting to mind-numbingly tedious in the snap of a second.

Things didn’t look like they were going to get any better when Eaton turned things around and applied a chinlock.

Thankfully, things did pick up again and we got a spirited build to the finish that resulted in Eaton picking up the win courtesy of the Alabama Jam.

The beginning and end of this match were good, but that middle but made me totally tune out and I could never get back into it.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton

After a quick commercial for our next PPV meeting with WCW, Superbrawl, Ross and Rhodes put over the upcoming WCW/NJPW Supershow and an upcoming exhibition match which was designed to promote that show.

Miss A & Miki Handa v. Mami Kitamura & Itsuki Yamasak

The four women involved in this match were met with near silence as they walked to the ring, the only sound being Dusty making fun of his inability to pronounce their names and then commenting on how good they looked in their outfits.

It’s to each of their credits though that they very quickly won over the crows and had JR and Dream taking them very seriously thanks to a stellar-performance in the ring.

Seriously, this was a strong match that turned an apathetic crowd into ardent supporters of the four wrestlers involved and was a compelling watch from start to finish.

After a tremendous effort, Miss A rolled up Itsuki Yamasak to score the fall.
Your Winners: Miss A & Miki Handa

Elsewhere in the arena, Missy Hyatt announced that she was going to be the first woman to ever conduct an interview from inside the men’s locker room, an achievement that she first claimed was a stand for women’s equality but later admitted was just a chance to find a “babe.”

Nature Boy Buddy Landell vs. The Natural Dustin Rhodes

The last time we saw Dustin Rhodes here on Retro Pro Wrestling, he was teaming with his daddy back at the 1991 Royal Rumble

Here, he and Buddy Landell had the worst match on the card so far.

There was nothing technically wrong with it, it was just incredibly bland.

Though the two did have parts of the small crowd on their side for most of the match, it was a very uninspired affair that felt more like they were there to fill time than to genuinely entertain.

After a few minutes of mediocre action, Dustin picked up the predictable win.
Your Winner: Dusty Rhodes

Backstage, Missy Hyatt got all excited about finding herself a babe as she became the first woman interviewer to go inside a women’s lockeroom.

Her excitement soon dwindled when all she found was Stan Hansen in his undies who spat tobacco at her and yelled at her to leave.

Out in the arena, Tony Schiavone found Missy’s misfortune hilarious, but the whole thing was kind of stupid.

The Royal Family (Jack Victory & Rip Morgan) vs. The Young Pistols (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)

Jack Victory and Rip Morgan were supposed to be a Royal Family, but came out in medieval garments that made them look like old-worldly servants while medieval flute music played as their theme.

Maybe they really were royalty, albeit royalty with access to a Delorean which accidentally took them back a thousand years.

Meanwhile, Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong had dropped the ‘Wild-Eyed Southern Boys’ name and become The Young Pistols, no doubt in an attempt to get rid of the whole confederate flag gimmick they’d been working in the past.

After the opening moments of exciting action, the arena lights went out, prompting the two teams to spend a few minutes wrestling under a spotlight.

If you want to know the truth, it actually looked pretty cool.

The actual match was cool too.

The Young Pistols put their speed and agility against The Royal Family’s brute power to give us a bout which, though certainly not spectacular, was very entertaining with nary a dull moment in sight.

The heels dominated for much of the contest, but at the final moment, the good guys reversed Victory & Morgan’s double face buster attempt to score the win.
Your Winners: The Young Pistols

Out somewhere in the arena, Diamond Dallas Page made his PPV debut in an interview with Tony Schiavone.

In a compelling promo, Page put his gift of the gab to work in putting over The Fabulous Freebirds and how they were going to”drop Doom like a bad habit” when the two teams met in the ring.

The future Hall of Famer then turned his attentions to Doom's manager, Teddy Long, and began ranting about how the opposition’s manager had a peanut head.

Naturally, this brought out Long, who told off Page and promised that Doom would reign supreme later tonight.

This was a pretty damn good segment.

It’s interesting that Long and DDP were such strong characters that neither Doom nor The Fabulous Freebirds needed to be in a segment that was supposed to be about them.

No Disqualification Match
Terry Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. The Z-Man

Despite being a babyface, The Z-Man got almost as many boos as Terry Taylor as the two made their way out for a No Disqualification match that failed to take advantage of such a stipulation in anyway.

Look, I like Tom Zenk. Even though there are plenty of people who will tell you that Z-Man was a goof who deserved to be booed, I think he had a certain role to play and played it well.

Likewise, Terry Taylor was a genuinely interesting character for the first (and perhaps only) time in his career as he took on the role of ‘The Computerised Man of the 90s.’

I’d even fairly enjoyed their outing together at Clash 14, but this felt like a wasted opportunity.

The only reason for the No DQ rule was that both men had beaten the other via disqualification in previous outings so now they were going to settle the score once and for all.

It was a good concept for a match that was ruined by the fact that -other than a split second where Taylor choked his opponent with a cable ok the outside- nothing happened to make this unlike any other generic singles match.

That’s not to say it was a bad match. It wasn’t all that interesting, but it wasn’t terrible or anything, but it just seems a shame to promote a no DQ match and not take advantage of the opportunity to do something different.

Still, this was WCW in the 90s, so I shouldn’t be too surprised, nor should I be surprised that the company would give Alexandra York a computer that didn’t turn on and then give us multiple shots which clearly showed her typing into a computer that wasn’t switched on.

It was kind of dumb, but it did give me the opportunity to say something interesting about this otherwise run-of-the-mill match, as did the appearance of Nikita Koloff.

Koloff had last been seen on PPV two years ago at Wrestlewar '89, but tonight he was in the crowd with The Great Muta and Hiro Matsuda, both of whom were in town to promote the WCW/NJPW super show.

Back to our match, after a competent but boring match, Z-Man looked to have the victory only for Ms. York to distract the official.

The referee (who JR liked to tell us was a rookie at every opportunity) refused to stop arguing with York, even when Z-Man told him that he needed him to count the fall.

The ref refused, instead focussing his efforts purely on The York Foundation leader, but the second Taylor rolled up his opponent with a handful of tights, you can bet your sweet ass that the ref was right there to count the fall.

It was a dumb end to a dumb match between two decent performers who probably deserved better.
Your Winner: Terry Taylor

After the match, Ross and Rhodes hyped an upcoming appearance by El Gigante on Paul E. Dangerously’s Danger Zone interview segment.

“I tell ya, I’ve seen El Gigante training. I’ve seen him running, I’ve seen him hiding!” Exclaimed Dusty, who apparently didn’t seem to realise that telling fans that a babyface had been “running and hiding” was probably not a good idea.

Let’s Get Racist!

Speaking of things that weren’t a good idea, Dangerously then made his way to the ring and immediately began a racist tirade against illegal immigrants and Latin people in general.

El Gigante then sauntered to the ring, where the goal was for Heyman to put over the big man as the special referee for an upcoming cage match between Sting and Ric Flair.

Instead, the future WCW boss simply amplified the racism before Gigante had enough and destroyed Dangerously with a body slam.

I get that this was of it’s time and everything, but this segment really didn’t age well and I doubt was all that well-received at the time.

Let’s Promote the Japan Show!

If Clash of the Champions XIV had been one long promotional vehicle for tonight’s show, WrestleWar ‘91 was itself shaping up to be a promotional vehicle for the big. NJPW/WCW crossover.

Up next, Schiavone told us us that WCW’s “Rolling Thunder ‘91 Tour” would be working its way to Tokyo Egg Dome where Sting would face The Great Muta.

As the former TV champion stood by, Hiro Matsuda told Schiavone that he (Muta) would beat Sting.

It wasn’t much of a promo and, to be honest, didn’t really get me very excited about watching the big Egg Dome show.

Maybe this next match would:

Stan ‘The Lariat’ Hansen vs. Big Van Vader

This match was awesome.

Unlike anything else in WCW (or the WWF for that matter), the bout saw Hansen and Vader throw wrestling protocol right out of the window and just absolutely beat the living shit out of one another.

They brawled around the ring, they took it to the outside and threw chairs at one another, Vader dropped Hansen on the guard rail before Big Stan threw Big Van into the ring steps, then the whole thing went back in the ring again.

At some point, however, the ending did become predictable. Things were so out of control that it seemed like only a matter of time before referee Randy “Pee Wee” Anderson called for the double DQ finish.

The ending was inevitable, but that didn’t detract away from what was a great match that this fan would have happily seen go a lot longer.
Double DQ

Thankfully, we did get more from these two as Vader went to the top and destroyed Hansen with an impressive top rope clothesline before Hansen battled back and choked Vader with his bull rope.

The two brawled all the way to the back and that was that.

Before the next match, JR told us that we were going to hear more about Superbrawl. When he said “more,” he meant “the exact same graphic as we saw before.”

Ross and The Dream then hyped up our next match, which would be the last appearance of the old-school NWA US title as WCW struck out as its own separate entity and swapped to its own titles.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Lex Luger vs. Dangerous Dan Spivey.

Autocorrect keeps changing the name to Dangerous Dan Spicy and I can’t stop chuckling at that.

Spicy or not, the challenger and his opponent exceeded expectations here with a fine match that got more compelling as it went on.

In the opening moments, it looked as though this was going to descend into a lackluster big man power match, but before long both men picked up the slack and found their groove to deliver a genuinely riveting performance.

Spicy Spivey dominated, for the most part, hitting Luger with big-time moves like a tombstone piledriver and a top rope elbow which, while it wasn’t exactly Savage-like, still looked impressive for a man of his size.

Every time, the champion dramatically kicked out and eventually battled his way back, ultimately retaining his title after an exciting finish which saw Spivey throw him off the top rope only for The Total Package to reverse the subsequent pin attempt for the fall.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Lex Luger

Post-match, Luger made his way over to Tony Schiavone, Grizzly Smith, and Nikita Koloff, the latter of whom was supposed to present the new US title belt to the champion.

Instead, Koloff smacked Lex in the face with the belt and proceeded to cut a scathing promo.

In it, he lambasted the WCW Championship Committee for telling him that, since he had been retired for two years, he had no rights to claim a title shot and would thus have to prove he was worthy.

Attacking Luger, said Koloff, was his way of proving that he meant business, and dethroning the man who beat him for the US title back in 1987 would ultimately show the WCW Powers That Be that he was indeed worthy of holding gold.

That was great.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin w/ Diamond Dallas Page, The Diamond Dollls and Big Daddy Dink)

Flanked by two beautiful ‘Diamond Dolls,’ the charismatic Diamond Dallas Page rocked and rolled, strutted and strolled down to the ringside while his team, Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin both struggled to get any attention on them.

Once in the ring, Page took to the microphone and, in the most long-winded fashion ever, announced that he was stepping back from being ringside with the Free Birds, and that he would be replaced by the group’s new road manager, Big Daddy Dink (Oliver Humperdink).

To be honest, this was a good thing.

The larger-than-life DDP didn’t so much ooze charisma here as he did spray it like a ruptured fountain, The problem was that he didn’t yet have the mic skills to backup his overwhelming personality, so the whole thing started to get very annoying.

Seriously, every third phrase out of his mouth was “GOOD GAWD” and you ended up hating it more and more every time he said it.

The result of all this was that The Free Birds, you know, the guys actually wrestling the match, were completely overshadowed by their manager, a manager who wasn’t yet skilled enough to warrant all of the attention.

It was not a good start.

Fortunately, things got much better once Doom hit the ring and proceeded to have a good but largely forgettable match with Hayes and Garvin.

After a somewhat short encounter, Reed pulled out an international object and went to take out Hayes, but the future Doc Hendrix ducked and Simmons bore the brunt of his own partner’s attack.

As Hayes fell to the mat, Garvin -who had himself been knocked silly- was shoved onto Simmons by Humperdink.

One three count later, The Free Birds had fluked their way to a title win.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds

As Page returned to celebrate The Freebirds big win, Butch Reed and Teddy Long turned on Ron Simmons, starting the letter’s singles face run.

Meanwhile, Hayes & Garvin had already lost the titles to The Steiners in a pre-taped match that had been recorded six days prior but wouldn’t air for another few weeks, making them the only team to have technically had a negative title reign

Up next, Jim Ross promised us ‘more’ about Superbrawl, but of course, it wasn’t more at all, it was the exact same clip of the event’s logo and date that we’d already seen twice.

From there, Ross and Dusty interviewed some kid who had won a sweepstakes competition.

JR asked the youngster who his favourite team in the War Games match was. The poor kid either misheard or misunderstood, because he answered with ‘Doom,’ all while looking bummed out about Reed & Long’s earlier betrayal.

“Well, I don’t think they’re going to be a team any more!” quipped JR, throwing gasoline onto the bonfire of misery this poor, nervous kid was already experiencing.

The duo then showed us a clip of Brian Pillman being destroyed by The Four Horsemen, putting a question over Pillman’s head about his health. Finally, they reminded us that Arn Anderson was out of the match due to injury and would be replaced by Larry Zybysko.

Let the War Games Begin!

As the arena went dark, dramatic music played, and bright colored lights flashed over a cage that was lowered to the ring while blazing with fireworks.

It was, honestly, pretty awesome.

Tony Schiavone then reminded us all of the War Games match before finally, it was back to the action.

War Games
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham, and Larry Zybysko (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Sting, Flyin’ Bryan and The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

This match was incredible.

As Barry Windham stepped into the ring for his team, Ross and Rhodes speculated about how unwise it would be for Pillman to start the match given his recent injury.

Naturally, Pillman then broke away from the pack and leapt into the ring before his teammates had a chance to stop him, all in the name of getting revenge for the Horsemen’s attack.

And man, did he get his revenge.

For the next five minutes, Flyin’ Brian destroyed Barry Windham, flying around the ring with a barrage of attacks and grating his foe’s face against the cage until he bled.

It looked tremendous.

A coin toss was then held to determine which team would get the two-man advantage and, as if it wasn’t obvious, it fell in favour of the heels.

Flair then entered next, followed by Sting, Larry Zybysko, Rick Steiner, Sid Vicious, and, finally, Scott Steiner.

All the while, the two teams waged war on each other in a manner most awesome.

At one point, the faces all put the heels in figure four leg locks at the same time in one of the main highlights of the match.

Later, Pillman and Sid found themselves alone in one of the two rings.

Big Sid lifted Brian up for his signature powerbomb, but there wasn’t room. As such, Pillman’s legs struck the cage roof and he landed head-first on the match.

Sid quite visibly checked that Pillman was ok before picking him up for a second devastating (though thankfully not life-threatening promo).

At that point, Brian’s buddy, El Gigante ran to the ring and declared that his fallen friend was in no fit state to continue.

Referee Nick Patrick agreed and called off the match, giving the win to The Horsemen.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen

As Gigante carried a lifeless Pillman out of the arena, the Horsemen celebrated having emerged victorious in one of the best matches of that year, if not that decade.

Finally, Patrick told JR and Dream that he stood by his decision as he didn’t want to be responsible for Pillman getting hurt.

Then, all was left was for our announcers to recap some of the night’s highlights and, with that, Wrestle War ‘91 was over.

I started this review asking whether Wrestle War 1991 was capable of living up to the hype.

Having watched the whole thing, I can not categorically say yes, yes it was.

Though not every match was perfect, there was a lot of good to great stuff here leading up to a phenomenal War Games match that would end up going down as a classic.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.