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Beach Blast

June 20th 1992 

Mobile, Alabama 

The summer of 92 is upon us. Get your bucket and spade out, we’re off to the beach. WCW loved their themed PPVs, didn’t they? Bloody loved them. 

Eric Bischoff busting out the jazzy summer shirt here. Shame no-one told Bill Watts and Tony Schiavone to get in the spirit of the event but at least Easy E didn’t let the side down. 

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Fuck, even ‘life of the party’ Jim Ross let his hair down. Look at him. He’s going mad. 

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Jesse Ventura typically outdoes them all though. They cut to him and he’s on a sunbed with a bunch of scantily clad ladies fussing over him. He reluctantly drags himself away so he can call this show for us. Nice of him. 

Flyin’ Brian Pillman (c) vs Scotty Flamingo - WCW Light Heavyweight Title 

Needless to say, Scotty Polo-Raven is in his element here. Right at home with the beach theme. It’s almost like this event was designed specifically for him. But it’s not, obviously, because...well why would it be?

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I have seen this match before but it’s been years and years. I remembered it being good but rewatching it here I wasn’t that keen. I just can’t take Flamingo seriously as a threat to the title. He seems too much of a clown and a comedy act. And it doesn’t help that a lot of his offence is piss weak. Plus, after Pillman’s impressive wins over Liger and Z-Man on the last 2 PPVs, it feels like he shouldn’t have much bother here. Turns out I’m wrong though. The first 10 or so minutes consist of Scotty applying chinlocks and throwing strikes that wouldn’t break a poppadom. It picks up a bit towards the end when Pillman is on the attack though. 

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But it goes tits up when Pillman misses a dive and crashes down on the ramp. That can’t have been fun. Then Flamingo just pulls him into the ring and pins him. Flamingo wins.

Just like that it’s over. The match and Flyin’ Brian’s reign as champion. Seems a bit of a weird decision to me because Scotty really wasn’t very good back then. His best matches were later on as Raven when he could use all the gimmicks and weapons to hide his weaknesses. He was quite shit here actually. Pillman deserved better than losing to this div. But I guess there wasn’t much depth to the Light Heavyweight division so maybe the plan was to just whack the belt on a heel and have Pillman chase them. Fuck knows?

We get the Bikini Contest next with Missy Hyatt vs Madusa. Which is presented by Johnny B Badd. Jesse questions that - ”I’m not even sure this guy likes girls.” Anyway, they’re not even in bikinis. I mean, they both look nice but they’re way overdressed. 

Ron Simmons vs Taylor Made Man 

Ron’s being groomed for the big push here. Everyone knows that wherever Watts booked, he always pushed a black star to hopefully draw more black people. He also got erect for ‘real athletes’ and legit tough guys and ex football players. So Simmons was the perfect fit. He ticked every box. A black, tough, badass ex-footballer. The seeds were planted at the Clash a week earlier with that racially charged confrontation with Harley Race. But the road to the title begins here. Taylor is just cannon fodder. He gets a few little moments but it’s a showcase for Simmons, make no mistake. He bounces Taylor around the ring and puts him away with the powerslam. 

JR interviews Simmons post-match and they’re pushing the race thing again and strongly hinting that Ron might be a player in the title picture soon. 

Greg Valentine vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell 

Grizzled veteran vs young rookie. Standard kind of match you’d expect between these two. This would’ve been at home as Worldwide main event on any Saturday afternoon in 1992 on ITV. Ross with the obligatory Sprayberry High School reference. Every Bagwell match, Christ. Valentine gets the win with the figure four in 7 minutes. That doesn’t bode well for Bagwell’s future as we all know Greg doesn’t even get warmed until the 45 minute mark. 

Sting vs Cactus Jack - Falls Count Anywhere match 

This one is well remembered. Billed as ‘Falls Count Anywhere on the Gulf Coast’. Glad they cleared that up. Just saying ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ is too vague. We need to know the exact parameters that pinfalls count within. So as long as they don’t get on a boat and go beyond the Gulf Coast we’re good. 

In all seriousness, this is an incredible match. Sting was the WCW World Champ here but the belt isn’t at stake for some reason. I guess because Vader was already named the number one contender? 

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It kicks off on the ramp and they batter each other all around ringside. These two really go at it. It starts hot and stays that way. The crowd is mega into it. Sting was so ridiculously over at this time and Cactus was the ideal deranged and maniacal foil to bring out a different side of the Stinger. Kind of reminds me of Foley’s match with Shawn Michaels in the WWF in 1996. Like HBK at Mind Games, Sting had to be more vicious and violent here to survive.

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Cactus with the mad bumps on the concrete again. Although, at least in a match like this I kind of get it. If you’re going to insist on taking those crazy and reckless bumps, you save it for the big matches. Although even with that said, I still thought this was a bit much...

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A sodding sunset flip on concrete. Just imagine your lower back hitting the floor like that. And why would you even do it? Even with twisted kayfabe logic, that’s going to hurt you much more than the opponent. Cactus takes so many bumps on the concrete here. Watching him in this period now, I’m actually surprised he even made it to the WWF in 1996, let alone the Hell In A Cell match in 1998 or anything beyond that. He seems absolutely hell-bent on destroying his body. 

As they brawl around the ring, Jesse can’t fathom why Sting accepted this match. ”I cant for the life of me imagine why Sting did this. I mean, the guy has everything - the world title, money. And he gets involved in a madman match with the craziest man in wrestling, Cactus Jack.” 

They trade chair shots and Cactus hits the Double Arm DDT on the ramp for a 2 count. Sting then rallies back and hits a flying clothesline off the top to the outside and pins Cactus on the ramp. Cracking match.

Ricky Steamboat vs Ravishing Rick Rude - 30 Minute Ironman match 

These two had a belter at Superbrawl which I covered the other day. Like I said though, I recall this one being even better. Rude calls the fans ”Fat, out of shape, beach loving bozos” before treating the ladies and taking his robe off. Steamboat comes out with his wife and kid. 

No feeling out process here. They know each other well enough. Steamboat gets the edge early on and mostly focuses his attacks on Rude’s ribs. He’s in control for the first 7 or 8 minutes but then out of the blue Rude puts him down with a big knee to the kisser and goes 1-0. Then pretty much right after that...

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BOOM! The Rude Awakening. 123. Rude is now 2-0 up before we even hit 10 minutes. After a strong start, this is disaster for the Dragon. 

Rude concedes a fall when he’s disqualified for coming off the top rope with a kneedrop. Thanks Bill Watts. But it’s worth the DQ for Rude because he’s significantly damaged Steamboat and immediately scores another pinfall anyway. 3-1 to the Ravishing One. 

Steamboat turns the tide and claws one back with a tombstone piledriver, closing the gap in the score to 3-2. Then quickly evens things up with big superplex and a backslide for another pinfall. We’re all tied at 3-3. What a comeback by Steamboat. 

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Rude takes over again though. With 5 minutes left on the clock and them level at 3-3, they both have a real sense of urgency. But just when it’s getting really good Rude slaps on a sleeper and they sit in it for about 2 minutes, which kind of kills the closing stretch a bit. With less than a minute to go Steamboat does the old Bret Hart-Roddy Piper sleeper reversal spot and gets the pin, he’s 4-3 up. Rude goes nuts trying to score one back in the last 30 seconds but the time runs out. Steamboat wins! Tremendous match. 

Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes & Nikita Koloff vs Stunning Steve Austin, Arn Anderson & Beautiful Bobby Eaton - 6 Man Tag

Ole Anderson is refereeing this. Is that good or bad for the Dangerous Alliance given the history with him and Arn? It seemed like there was some variation of these lot in a 6 man tag every other show between 1991 and 1993. And they were always of a high standard. This was no different. Only thing I didn’t care for here was the finish. They work over Dustin for a while, Windham finally makes the hot tag and all 6 men brawl. Then just when it seemed like it was heating up, Ole fucking disqualifies the Alliance because Arn came off the top rope. Ahh, fuck you and your stupid rules Watts. 

The Bikini Contest continues at various points throughout the show. And they’re wearing a bit less each time. But the thing is Johnny B Badd and Jesse the Body are all over the screen as well. How are you supposed to wank to that? 

Moving on.

Steiner Brothers (c) vs Dr Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy - WCW World Tag Team Titles 

The big rematch from the Clash Of The Champions a week earlier. The Steiners are after redemption after losing at the Clash. And this time their titles are up for grabs. It’s another good, hard hitting match with these four. Like last time, they start out with lots of amateur wrestling. Scott in particular looks a fucking beast. I’d love to have seen this version of Scott Steiner in the early era UFC. Rick too, actually. 

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Have that. These four just beat the shite out of each other. I think it’s more brutal than the Clash match. It’s not what you’d call a fast pace. They just slowly and methodically batter and suplex each other silly. 

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Doc and Gordy eventually manage to isolate Scott, wear him down and beat him up. JR tells us that Steve Williams got the ‘Dr Death’ nickname in high school. How much of a playground hardcase do you have to be to get that moniker as a kid? They work Scott over for ages. When Rick finally tags in it really picks up. He’s all over Williams and Gordy with Steinerlines, suplexes and slams. They overwhelm Rick as well though. A recovered Scott tags in and smashes them both up as the final minute ticks away. Scott hits the Frankensteiner on Gordy right as the time runs out. After 30 gruelling minutes it’s a draw. The Steiners retain the gold. 

Enjoyed that. Maybe the bout order should’ve been switched up though because ending the show on a 30 minute draw did feel flat. Especially as it followed the 6 man ending on a DQ. Sting vs Cactus probably would’ve been the best choice to close the show. But whatever. Can’t gripe too much at a card of this quality. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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1 hour ago, Accident Prone said:

I never knew that Sting vs Cactus happened during the Watts era. You'd think a match like that would be ixnayed.

It's not that surprising that it did - Watts wasn't opposed to a big, wild hardcore brawl, he just wanted to use them sparingly. That was his reasoning behind a lot of the rule changes - that high spots and gimmicks mean more if you don't see them every show.

Which is fundamentally sound, but he was so out of touch by '92 that he considered being thrown over the top rope a "high spot".

In spite of that move making some matches frustrating, this might be my favourite period of WCW, so I'm really enjoying these write-ups.

Edited by BomberPat
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Cheers for the clarification, Pat. This also might be my favourite period of WCW, despite all the restrictions. It's mainly nostalgia though, as I had a whole host of 'WCW Best Ofs...' that mainly focused on this era. 

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4 hours ago, tiger_rick said:

Inspired by Wand, I started watching WrestleWar 91. Fuck me, it's dull.

No it isn't. Well, at least the Turner Home Entertainment VHS Release which cuts out 3 or 4 matches off isn't. The full show is a bit harder going. Luger vs Spivey is great, war games is great, the 6 man is fun. There's quite a few nice little matches on there.

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13 minutes ago, PowerButchi said:

No it isn't. Well, at least the Turner Home Entertainment VHS Release which cuts out 3 or 4 matches off isn't. The full show is a bit harder going. Luger vs Spivey is great, war games is great, the 6 man is fun. There's quite a few nice little matches on there.

I just picked it because I always watch 92 and 93 but not 91 much. I'm just up to the start of Luger/Spivey. I've only really enjoyed Vade & Hansen clubbing each other. Nothing wrong with Eaton & Armstrong other than it goes on ages but the rest is jobber central. Love the comedy of Missy Hyatt becoming the first woman to go into the men's lockerroom.

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5 hours ago, BomberPat said:

It's not that surprising that it did - Watts wasn't opposed to a big, wild hardcore brawl, he just wanted to use them sparingly. That was his reasoning behind a lot of the rule changes - that high spots and gimmicks mean more if you don't see them every show.

Which is fundamentally sound, but he was so out of touch by '92 that he considered being thrown over the top rope a "high spot".

Nailed it. I also think that another reason Watts went with Sting vs Cactus here, and Sting vs Vader for much of the rest of 92, might have been to give Sting more of an edge and the credibility that he could have a good scrap and show toughness and heart when needed. 

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2 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Nailed it. I also think that another reason Watts went with Sting vs Cactus here, and Sting vs Vader for much of the rest of 92, might have been to give Sting more of an edge and the credibility that he could have a good scrap and show toughness and heart when needed. 

if Foley's book is to be believed, there was never really any plan for the match to be as competitive as it was, with Cactus just being seen as a stopgap heel for Sting to beat, and it was Foley who pitched letting him get more shit in so that Sting looked better for defeating him. So it may be as simple as them just throwing Cactus out there with very little thought, but it worked, and Ventura does a great job of putting over how dangerous he was.

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Yeah, Jesse has been one of my favourite things about rewatching these shows. He’s got a bit of that Bobby Heenan quality about him where he can make the dullest and most insignificant matches very watchable by being so entertaining on commentary. When he’s got something to sink his teeth into and be serious about like getting across how much of a dangerous lunatic Cactus Jack is he’s great. But I honestly enjoy stuff like him ripping into Big Josh at WrestleWar for not having a bath just as much. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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In a lot of ways I prefer Ventura to Heenan; Heenan could rely too heavily on telling jokes and being a heel for it's own sake, whereas Jesse really feels like he's providing a logical explanation for heelish behaviour. Heenan's best is way better than Ventura's best, but I think Jesse pips it for consistency.

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Yeah, the main thing I always noticed about Jesse’s commentary was that while he pretty much always rooted against the babyfaces, there was usually sound logic behind it. The thing about Barry Windham and the taped fist is just one example of many. As a kid you’d want to disagree with him because he’s going against your guy but it’s even more annoying because he’s actually sort of right. 

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I always enjoyed the Sting / Cactus match. I think it's the one where Jack just stays on the ramp, waiting for Sting to come out (?).

Madusa / Missy was a 3-part affair. If you only got the first segment, you was robbed mate.

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Great American Bash 

July 12th 1992 

Albany, Georgia 

Tony Schiavone and Magnum TA open up the show and run down the card and the tag tournament bracket. 

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Of course, Steve Williams and Terry Gordy are through to the semi finals after beating the Steiners at Clash 19. Big Tone then informs us that Akira Nogami is out with an eye injury so Shinya Hashimoto takes his place repping Team Japan. That’s an improvement. Love a bit of Hashimoto. 

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Over to Jim and Jesse. They talk up the big Sting vs Vader title match later. Basically, Jesse thinks Sting is fucked. 

Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff vs Flyin’ Brian Pillman & Jushin Thunder Liger - NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Finals 

Not sure I’ve ever seen this match. It’s really good as you’d expect given who’s involved. I like the Steamboat and Koloff team. They kind of have that Hart Foundation dynamic with the contrast between the technician and the powerhouse. It was especially cool to see Steamboat and Liger do battle here as I don’t think they ever met in singles, did they? I could be mistaken. 

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It’s fun to see regardless. Steamboat and Koloff come out with the victory when Pillman hits a cross body off the top but the Dragon rolls through and pins him. They’ll meet Williams and Gordy in the semis. Lucky them. 

Fabulous Freebirds vs Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto - NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Finals 

Again, a bit of an odd clash here. The Freebirds vs almost any team at this stage just looks weird. Even in 92 WCW they looked so dated to me. This is a perfectly decent little match though, despite the totally opposite styles. Hashimoto gets in and Jesse’s first comment is ”I can tell he likes his rice.” It’s alright though, in 1992 a bit of racial stereotyping and having a dig at fat people was fine. 

Finish comes around 9 minutes when Hashimoto kicks Garvin to the body and Hase hits a perfect Northern Lights for the 3 count. 

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Beautiful. I might have to watch some more Hase. I remember loving all those tags with the Steiners vs different combinations of Hase, Muta and Sasaki. 

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs Ravishing Rick Rude & Stunning Steve Austin - NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Finals 

I love seeing Rude and Austin as a team in this period. Obviously they’ve got the US and TV titles respectively here, but I’d have liked to have seen them get a run as tag champs at some point too. Anderson and Eaton were understandably always the go-to team for the Dangerous Alliance but I think there’d have been legs in a Rude/Austin team as more of a regular thing. Look at them. They just look like a real championship team, don’t they? 

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”What I’d like to have right now...is for all you fat, out of shape, simple minded sweat-hogs. Keep the noise down, while I take my robe off and show you what a real sexy man is supposed to look like. Hit the music.”

This match is fucking fantastic. Goes around 20 minutes and all four men are on point and at the top of their game. 

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Rude even busts out an aerial assault! Don’t see that often. Has to hide it from the ref, obviously. Don’t want to get disqualified, do we Mr Watts? As much as I’ve bummed the Rude and Austin combo above, Big Baz and Dustin were such a phenomenal team themselves. They had great chemistry, their styles meshed so well and they just looked like a proper team. They finally get the win after a hard fought battle when Austin is busy going for a piledriver on Windham and Rhodes comes off the top with a big flying clothesline. Brilliant stuff. If you’ve got the Network and fancy a little slice of WCW from 92, you can do a lot worse than this match.

Dr Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy vs Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff - NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Semi Finals 

Since Beach Blast, Doc and Gordy have become WCW World Tag Team champions by beating the Steiners again on a house show on July 5th. Here we are just 7 days later and they’re after more gold.

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At this point they’re handily winning the feud against the Steiners. They’ve only been in the company about a month and they’ve already beat Rick and Scott twice and gone to a draw the other time they met at Beach Blast. And just a week after becoming the WCW champs, here they are back in the tournament trying to add the NWA straps and unify all the belts. 

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They’re up against some tough opposition in Steamboat and Koloff. Although, in kayfabe terms it’s not really fair as Steamboat and Koloff already went about 20 minutes earlier whereas Dr Death and Bam Bam are coming into this one fresh. Anyway, once again, I sound like a stuck record but another really strong match. This show is full of them. I didn’t like this as much as Windham/Rhodes vs Rude/Austin and it’s a little bit slow in places but it’s still a very good match. Like you’d expect, Steamboat does a lot of selling in this one. They give the Dragon’s ribs a right working over and it pays off late when Williams pins Steamboat with a modified version of the Oklahoma Stampede.

Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto - NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Semi Finals 

Good match. Especially considering they’d probably hardly worked together before. Maybe never. It always amazes me how good Dustin was from so early on. He’d only been going a few years here and he’s just 23 years old at the time of this show. Yet watching him in this period it’s so easy to forget how relatively inexperienced he is compared to most of the guys he’s in with. He doesn’t look at all out of place in there with anyone. He really was a ‘Natural’. He takes a bit of a kicking here though. As the more inexperienced member of his team, the Japanese isolate him and beat him down for the bulk of this one. He finally makes the tag and a fresh Windham comes in and kicks Hase’s arse. A lovely float-over suplex being the highlight. They polish the Japanese team off with that nifty finish where Dustin leapfrogs Hase and Barry clobbers him with the lariat. Not an amazing match or anything but solid enough and I enjoyed it. The finals are set.

Sting (c) vs Big Van Vader - WCW World Heavyweight Title 

OK fucking buckle up. They’d met one-on-one before a few times, I think, but this was the proper start of a series of matches between 1992 and 1994 that were just class, IMO. These two just had something, some type of magic whenever they shared the ring. I don’t think they ever had a bad match together and I’ve always felt like they were probably each others’ best opponent. 

Vader comes out with that big elephant/mammoth mask thing with the smoke coming out of it. 

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You always knew some serious shit was about to go down when he dusted that thing off. Sting is out next. The champ. In keeping with the name of the event he’s all decked out in red, white and blue. 

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Watching it back now, as it’s about to start it feels more like a big prize fight than a wrestling match. The intense staredown and the anticipation makes it feel like a big time boxing match is about to take place or something. 

The match starts and within about a minute Vader is smashing him to bits with those big clubbing forearms in the corner. Sting has his moments and it’s back and forth early on but it’s not long before Vader takes over and just takes his sweet time about utterly destroying the Stinger. 

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Insult to injury as Vader puts Sting in his own move the ‘Scorpion Deathlock’. Good job ‘Screwjob’ Earl Hebner wasn’t reffing, eh? It would be over already. Vader just slowly and sadistically batters the shit out of him here until Sting is finally able to mount a comeback with a big DDT and then this...

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A Samoan Drop on the 450lb Vader! He then hits a bloody German suplex on the big man for a near fall. Stinger Splash now and Vader is reeling. He goes for another Stinger Splash, and lands it, but twats his bonce off the corner post. 

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He’s out of it and bleeding. He still kicks out and is trying to throw wild punches and missing badly, falling on his face. Vader picks him up and...

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123. It’s over. We have a new WCW World Heavyweight Champion. 

Awesome match. Enjoyed the fuck out of it. Like I said, great chemistry between the two and it not only established Vader as ‘the man’ and a monstrous force to be reckoned with, it also got Sting over as a courageous battler who refused to quit and fought valiantly in defeat. 

Sting gets cheers and claps as he’s helped out of the ring by Ron Simmons, Nikita Koloff and Grizzly ‘The Nonce’ Smith. Bischoff is backstage and interviews the new champ and a jubilant Harley Race. 

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”This man is the greatest athlete on the face of God’s green earth. And we just showed every little Stinger out there that the myth is gone, the myth has been destroyed. This is the KING of athletes, the KING of wrestling. The man in wrestling today is Big Van Vader!” - Harley Race

Dr Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy vs Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes - Tournament Finals to crown NWA World Tag Team Champions 

The finals are here. It’s been a tournament full of mostly excellent matches and this should be a cracking way to end it. New champions will be crowned. 

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Grumpy Ole Anderson, the Victor Meldrew of wrestling, is the referee. 

Repeating myself again but yeah, another really good tag team match. It was never going to be anything less with these four. A lot of these matches, particularly the Doc and Gordy ones, have hot finishes but are pretty slow moving or ‘methodical’ if you prefer early on. So I guess it depends if you like that kind of match. I like it when it’s done well and these guys do it well. Everything feels like a real struggle and a battle for the advantage. All four are beat up from their matches earlier in the night and the sheer physicality of Williams and Gordy means Barry and Dustin take a drawn out beating for much of this match. They turn things around later though and it briefly looks like they might do what the Steiners couldn’t and actually beat Doc and Gordy. But Doc sacrifices his own partner when he throws Dustin into Gordy, smashing their heads together. Dustin is fucked and stumbles to his feet only to be turned inside out by a huge clothesline. He’s done. Williams and Gordy win the tournament. They’re winning bloody everything. 

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As the show comes to a close they’ve now got the WCW and NWA belts. They’ve beat the Steiner Brothers, Windham & Rhodes and Steamboat & Koloff. They even beat the O’Days! Who can stop this pair of granite hard cunts? 

”It’s gonna be a long, long time before you find a team that can beat this one right here.” - Terry Gordy

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I don't think you could find a team that would be more blatantly beloved of Bill Watts than Gordy and Williams, just a pair of legit hard bastards lobbing people about, and I love this run for them.

100% agree on Sting/Vader feeling like a prize fight. A lot of Vader's title matches had that feel, which shows just what an aura the man had around him back then.

As for it being okay to be a little bit racist and bodyshaming of Hashimoto, this is a year prior to Hogan calling Yokozuna "the big Jap", after all.

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