Welcome to a new installment here on Mixed Marshall Arts, the Monday Main Event. Each Monday, I’ll post a great and/or just plain entertaining goddamn match.
This week’s Monday Main Event:
WAR GAMES: Sting’s Squadron (Sting, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and Nikita Koloff) vs. The Dangerous Alliance (Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zybysko, and Bobby Eaton)
from WrestleWar ’92 – May 17, 1992 (Jacksonville, FL )
A Hell of a match that still holds up. I want the 200 weirdos who chant “THIS IS AWESOME” at every Ring of Honor match to watch this and watch it carefully, because this is what good working is: making an entertaining match people are invested in, not just hitting random moves.
Ric Flair’s departure from WCW in 1991 (a long and sordid tale which we won’t even get into) left a tremendous void in terms of a prominent heel stable and storylines for the year.
The result and solution: Paul E. Dangerously (Paul Heyman with that hilariously large cellular phone) creates The Dangerous Alliance, which for sentimental reasons and for its depth of talent actually ranks above the Horsemen for my favorite heel stable of all time:
- Rick Rude - Definitely one of my favorites. As I got older I realized he wasn’t always great in the ring, but he still had an undeniable charisma.
- Steve Austin - He hadn’t peaked yet in terms of workrate, but he was well on his way.
- Arn Anderson - Lifelong favorite of mine. That spinebuster owns your soul.
- Larry Zybysko - Definitely the weak link, but not terrible. Well, except for his over-the-top cheesiness.
- Bobby Eaton - Could still go.
On the face side, Sting’s Squadron, the team put together to combat the heels made up of the various guys that had been feuding with the Alliance and decided to pool their resources together.
- Sting - I never “got” Sting when I was a kid. I think if I had been introduced to the NWA/WCW earlier, I might have, but my first impression was that he was cheesy (which he was) and that he was a poor man’s Ultimate Warrior (which, holy shit, flip that). I appreciated him a lot more as an adult and he’s as great here as he always was.
- Barry Windham - Another lifelong favorite of mine along with Arn Anderson. It actually made me sad in the late 90s when he came back to WCW, because he was just a shell of what he used to be. If your only exposure to him is anything after 1994, then you probably don’t know how damn good he was. See also:
- Dustin Rhodes - Holy underrated. He was okay in the WWF as Goldust, but his best work was as a face and he was GREAT in the early 90s. Seriously. If you’ve only seen the Goldust stuff, then you have no idea.
- Ricky Steamboat - He was always great and always over, and I remember being confounded as a kid as to why he was never a bigger deal. He sort of was, I guess, just not when I was paying attention.
- Nikita Koloff - Doesn’t do much here. He was a bigger star when I was too young to remember/wasn’t watching the NWA/WCW. I do remember his return during this era as a face. The storyline here was that Sting brought him on his team but still didn’t fully trust him. Here’s a fun story: after his career ended he became a born-again Christian and began preaching and doing speaking engagements at churches and church functions, focusing on his rough upbringing in the Ukraine and the oppression his people suffered under Soviet rule. Which is all well and good, I suppose, except that he wasn’t actually Ukrainian. His name was Nelson Simpson and he was born in Minneapolis.
War Games was a specialty match created by Dusty Rhodes, and is perhaps his greatest creation as a booker. WCW, in typical WCW fashion, hilariously overexplains the rules in the clip. Here’s the shorter version:
- Two teams of 5.
- Start off with one member of each team. Finish can’t occur until all ten men are in the ring. First two guys are in for five minutes.
- Third guy enters (coin flip determines from which team). Another man enters from the other team and they alternate every two minutes until all ten men are in the ring.
- Once all ten are in the ring, finish can only come by submission or surrender.
That’s it. Simple concept that I’m surprised WWE hasn’t tried to bring back. They really should have with the Nexus angle a couple years back. Crowd would have been red hot for it.