Date: February 25, 1990
Venue: Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)
Commentators: Jim Ross & Terry Funk
WrestleWar ‘90: Wild Thing features a World Title main event as ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair defends against former Four Horsemen brother ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger. The undercard? PRETTY MUCH ALL TAG TEAM MATCHES, including two championship contests and a Chicago Street Fight between The Road Warriors and a real low-rent version of The Skyscrapers. Throw in one of the all-time great fun bad PPV theme songs and you’ve got yourself a helluva way to kick off the 1990 WCW PPV season. I’ve watched this one before but that was like twelve sites ago so let’s pretend like I didn’t.
- NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
- NWA UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger
- NWA WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION: ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson
- NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)
- NWA UNITED STATES TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman & ‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk
- The Dynamic Dudes vs. Kevin Sullivan & Buzz Sawyer (*3/4)
- Norman The Lunatic vs. Cactus Jack Manson (*)
- The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express (***1/2)
- CHICAGO STREET FIGHT: The Road Warriors vs. “The Skyscrapers” (*1/4)
- Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk [c] vs. The Fabulous Freebirds for the NWA UNITED STATES TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
- The Steiner Brothers [c] vs. Ole & Arn Anderson for the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- Ric Flair [c] vs. Lex Luger for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (****)
-Opening video is set to the LAMEST PPV theme song of all-time. It’s rap written by old white people trying to appeal to the youths. I love it.
–Jim Ross welcomes the home audience as we pan the Greensboro Coliseum. Ross is joined on commentary by the legendary Terry Funk, complete with a ridiculous-looking earring. Ross announces that Dan Spivey is injured and will not be competing in the Chicago Street Fight, then he and Funk go over the three big championship matches scheduled tonight.
-Cut to the locker room where Gordon Solie is with Theodore R. Long. Long confirms Spivey’s injury and says he’s hired another wrestler to take his place for the night, and is very confident in him. Long also hints another BIG surprise, Solie thinks Long is lying about Spivey and they play it off like he might actually be making it up. He’s not, sorry y’all.
The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace) vs. Kevin Sullivan & ‘Mad Dog’ Buzz Sawyer
The Dynamic Dudes were supposed to be one of the NWA’s ways to appeal to a younger audience, but the gimmick felt phony as Douglas and Ace couldn’t even ride the skateboards they once brought to the ring. After a brief attempt to get them over with Jim Cornette as their manager, the push was abandoned and here they are now. No more skateboards and a defeated demeanor about them (Douglas, especially).
Sawyer muscles Ace into the ropes, Sawyer surprisingly breaks clean. Sawyer drops Ace with a shoulderblock, Ace responds with a monkey flip and a dropkick to the floor. Ace follows up with a plancha, Sullivan walks over and Douglas fights him off. Douglas and Sullivan tag in for their respective teams, the latter backing the former into the corner for some rights. Both men trade hammerlocks, Ace tags back in and drops a fist from the middle buckle to the arm. Sullivan backs Ace into the heel corner, but Ace quickly fights his way out. Sawyer misses a corner splash and goes shoulder-first into the ROOS-sponsored post. You ever own a pair of Roos? Leave a comment below. Sullivan tags back in and sends Douglas out to the floor to escape the armbar. Ace stupidly distracts the ref, allowing Sawyer to suplex Ace’s partner on the floor. Dummy. Sullivan and Sawyer work Douglas over, Sawyer hitting a series of nice variant suplexes for a couple of two-counts. Douglas manages to catch Sullivan in a sunset flip but Sullivan kicks out and holds Douglas’ leg so he can’t make the tag. Sawyer tags in and BITES DOUGLAS’ KIDNEY. This Dog is MAD. Time for a trip to bear hug city, but at least Sawyer turns it into some pinfall attempts to keep it interesting-ish. Sullivan catches a charging Douglas with a boot and Douglas does a full-on ‘Flair Flop’, then gets sent to the floor so Sawyer can get some cheapshots in. More bearhugs for Douglas. Douglas breaks out of Sawyer’s and makes the hot(?) tag to Ace. Dropkicks and scoop slams. Douglas grazes Sullivan with a dropkick of his own, Ace tries a headscissors on Sawyer but Sawyer is too sweaty and slides out. Sawyer heads to the top and connects with a Superfly Splash for the 1…2…3!
Kevin Sullivan & Buzz Sawyer defeated The Dynamic Dudes when Sawyer pinned Johnny Ace with a Superfly Splash (10:15)
- Perfectly fine tag team match to open the show, the first of 600000 tag team matches on this show. Sawyer stole the show, with his selling and that beautiful splash to end the contest. Dynamic Dudes did their part but the gimmick was barely here at this point so there wasn’t much to them. Douglas was on his way out anyway, leaving Ace to tool around as a singles competitor until booking it to Japan and becoming a HUGE star. (*¾)
–Missy Hyatt is backstage with Norman The Lunatic, who has gone from crazy heel to manchild babyface, complete with a propeller-topped beanie and stuffed animals. Yikes. Norman says Missy looks like her sister and says if she was here she would give her a hug for good luck. Hyatt awkwardly hugs her, Norman says if she gave him a kiss he would have all kinds of luck. Hyatt gives him a peck, Norman asks for another, Hyatt quickly takes it back to the ring before getting assaulted.
Norman The Lunatic vs. Cactus Jack Manson
Norman plays to the kids during his entrance, grabbing stuffed animals they’ve brought for him and handing out 8x10s/a giant pink stuffed bear. Some MAJOR DORK catches it. Real 90s ugly, that guy.
Manson attacks right at the bell, dropping Norman and going for the pin. Norman kicks out with such force that Manson gets sent right out to the floor. ‘NORMAN’ chants from the Greensboro crowd. Norman connects with a clothesline, Manson tries to attack the head but HE’S GOT A THICC SKULL so it leads to nowhere. Norman applies a standing bearhug. This show already has had too many bearhugs and we’re two matches in. Norman with a corner splash, Manson falls like a tree. Norman whips Manson so hard into the corner, he flies out to the floor. This dude has his Curt Hennig working boots on. Manson charges at Norman, Norman backdrops him into the crowd and ONTO THE CONCRETE. Jeeeeeez. Norman tries a battering ram into the post but Manson pushes him off and sends him shoulder-first into the post, then follows up with a DROPKICK OFF THE APRON. Manson trying to keep it interesting, you gotta respect that. Manson continues the offense, which includes a beautiful Greco-Roman face bite. Norman tries to use his THICC SKULL for a comeback but Manson fights him off and applies a chinlock. WHY IS THIS STILL GOING? Norman counters a chinlock with an electric chair but misses a follow-up splash. Manson tries for a piledriver but Norman TOO THICC and counters with a backdrop, then sits on him for the 1…2…3.
Norman The Lunatic defeated Cactus Jack Manson via pinfall with a seated splash (9:32)
- Cactus Jack did what he could to make things interesting, taking a backdrop on the concrete and hitting dropkicks off the apron, but overall this match was dullsville and went on far far far too long. Norman would later morph into Big Trucker Norm before leaving WCW in 1991 and returning to Texas and the Makhan Singh gimmick for the GWF. Manson would be fine, I guess. I hear he wrote a book or fifty. (*)
–Gordon Solie is backstage with The Midnight Express and Jim Cornette. Cornette says a lot of things might have changed in pro wrestling, but the blood rivalry between The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and The Midnight Express has not. Today is ‘The Day the Music Died’.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) vs. The Midnight Express (‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton & ‘Sweet’ Stan Lane) [w/ Jim Cornette]
Two of the best teams in pro wrestling history continuing their rivalry into the 1990s, that’s pretty much all you need to know. Can we get a Kickstarter going to buy the rights to The Midnight Express’ original theme so WWE can stop with this dubbing nonsense? Ha, there’s a ‘We have HERD enough’ sign in the front row. Must be a dirt sheet bro.
Gibson takes Lane to the mat with a shoulderblock, Lane complains to the referee for some reason. Lane leapfrogs a charging Gibson but his monkey flip is countered with a fist drop, and he bails to the floor gather his thoughts. An angry Lane shoves referee Nick Patrick who shoves back. Cornette rapid-fire pokes Cornette in the chest, Patrick pokes back, and Cornette loses it. He challenges Patrick to a fight and Patrick untucks his shirt READY TO FIGHT, scaring Cornette right out of the ring. It’s funnier than it sounds in this recap, I promise. What a goofy moment. Cornette is great. Morton tags in, escapes a slam, and sends Lane into Eaton with an atomic drop, clearing the ring. An angry Lane shoves Eaton, and Cornette plays peacemaker. Lane with a scoop slam, Eaton tags in and runs into a pair of armdrags from Morton. Test of strength, Morton climbs Eaton like a ladder and launches into Lane, Gibson clearing Eaton from the ring as well. It’s such a joy watching these two teams battle. Cornette trips Morton, Morton chases Cornette onto the apron and gets caught in a tug of war before Morton lets go, sending the manager flying into the ring. This is the most physical I’ve seen Cornette maybe ever. RNR hit Eaton with a double backdrop followed by a double clothesline then sends him careening back out to the floor. Quick tags, RNR hit the now-legal Lane with a double back elbow.
Lane grabs Morton’s tights and sends him to the floor, but gets sent head-first into the post on the follow-up. Luckily that ROOS pad probably lessened the blow to that handsome face. Eaton tags in and backs Morton into the corner for an awesome uppercut right hand the way he could only do it. They trade rights and Morton sends himself and his opponent out to the floor with a crossbody. Lane decides to take matters into his own hands and slams Morton on the floor, finally giving The Midnight Express a clear advantage. The Midnights go to work on Morton’s back, Cornette getting a cheap shot in as well with his tennis racket. Morton it too plucky though and won’t stay down for a pinfall. Lane clears Gibson off the apron to prevent a tag, Eaton drops Morton sternum-first across the guardrail behind the ref’s back. Morton catches Lane with a sunset flip but Cornette distracts the ref, giving Eaton the opportunity to break it with a kick to the mush. Eaton gets a blind tag and hits Morton with a neckbreaker while he has Lane rolled up. NICE. Morton counters a backdrop from Lane with a kick, Lane quickly tags Eaton to continue the attack and prevent a tag. Eaton with a scoop slam followed by a flying elbowdrop from the top rope, OOOOOH YEAH! Eaton goes for a cover but Gibson immediately kicks him to break the count.
Lane traps Morton in an armbar, Morton flips him off. Eaton tags in and sends Morton shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle followed by an armbreaker into a hammerlock. Morton sends Eaton into the buckles, but they crack heads and both men go down. Lane tags in and catches Morton with a side slam. Morton counters The Rocket Launcher with a pair of knees and FINALLY gets the tag to Gibson. Gibson, as expected, goes HAM on both Midnights. He rolls Eaton up with a sunset flip, Lane breaks the count and all four are in the ring. The ref gets distracted and Cornette hits Gibson with his tennis racket for the 1…2…GIBSON KICKS OUT. The Midnights try a double flapjack, but Gibson counters on Lane with a roll-up for the 1…2…3!
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express defeated The Midnight Express when Robert Gibson pinned Stan Lane with a roll-up (23:28)
- These teams have fought SO MANY TIMES that it would have been damn-near impossible to have a bad match, and luckily they didn’t. This was an entertaining contest, with some great shenanigans from Cornette AND Nick Patrick for an additional layer of fun. What a pleasure it is to see The Midnight Express work; everything they do is crisp and excellently executed (sorry, Bret). This ended up being the last high-profile match in this long standing blood feud due to injuries and the eventual dissolution of The Midnight Express later in the year, but it was a good way to go out. (***½)
-Gordon Solie is backstage with The Road Warriors, decked out in street clothes for their street fight, and their manager ‘Precious’ Paul Ellering who remains decked out in a suit because of course he does. Hawk and Animal went back to Chicago to prepare for this street fight, and are wearing Sting armbands as solidarity for their injured friend. Ellering says they’re ready for anything, including Dan Spivey randomly showing up. WHICH HE WILL NOT BE DOING.
CHICAGO STREET FIGHT
The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) [w/ ‘Precious’ Paul Ellering] vs. “The Skyscrapers” (‘Mean’ Mark Callous & The Masked Skyscraper) [w/ Theodore R. Long]
Callous’ new partner for the night is Mike Enos under a mask. Long tries to assure Callous that he’s a viable replacement, but Callous doesn’t seem to buy it. Don’t blame him. The Road Warriors are driven to the ring on the back of motorcycles despite the ramp being flimsy as sh*t and only like thirty feet away from the ring. Long has to cut a promo on the house mic talking about this masked Skyscraper since this is news to the fans in the arena and they didn’t get to see the backstage stuff we did. Another tease for Long’s ‘big surprise’. How come WWE Network has the rights to the Road Warriors’ ‘Iron Man’ knock-off but not Raven and DDP’s themes? HOW DOES MUSIC LICENSING WORK? Ellering challenges Long to a fight and wins easily with a right hook. HA.
Bell rings and The Road Warriors are all offense. Out walk a suited-up Doom (Ron Simmons & ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed) who Long immediately hides behind while the match goes on. I guess this is his big surprise, fair enough. Callous gets a little offense but that’s easily extinguished and The Warriors continue to dominate. The fight spills to the floor, Hawk belting Callous with a clothesline from the apron followed by a dropkick using his hard-soled cowboy boots. All four end up back in the ring, The Skyscrapers get minor offense but once again it’s stopped, this time with a double clothesline from Animal. Hawk clotheslines Callous to the floor and Callous quits on his new teammate, leaving the match as The Road Warriors finish this masked dude off with a Doomsday Device.
The Road Warriors defeated “The Skyscrapers” when Hawk pinned The Masked Skyscraper following a Doomsday Device (4:58)
- The Road Warriors end their feud with The Skyscrapers against two guys who weren’t even in the team when the feud started. Amazing. Not much to say about this one, just some generic brawling until the finish. Doom and their awesome suits were more interesting. (*¼)
Animal gorilla tosses Long into the arms of Doom. Doom and The Road Warriors start brawling in the ring. Simmons tries to use a foreign object, Animal steals it and uses it instead. Animal and Simmons roll around the ring while Hawk belts Reed with a whole lot of chops. Animal and Simmons brawl to the floor, Hawk hits Reed with a powerslam. Hawk backdrops Reed to the floor, Simmons re-enters the ring just to get sent to the floor as well, and The Road Warriors stand tall, wanting more. We never really get a Road Warriors/Doom match on a major show due to Hawk and Animal leaving the company later in the year, but OH MAN how good would it have been? This is a match I would have paid to see.
-Ross gets on the house mic and says every match going forward will be for a championship. Funk is hyped up after a GREAT NIGHT OF WRESTLING. Ehhh agree to disagree. I appreciate him being fired up though.
-Cut to a replay of the Road Warriors/Doom brawl we just saw two seconds ago.
‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman & ‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk [c] vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin) for the NWA UNITED STATES TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Pillman and Zenk defeated The Freebirds in the finals of a tournament to win the United States Tag Team Championship and this is a rematch of that. Hayes’ eyeliner ON FLEEK.
A couple of ladies pop out of nowhere to help remove The Freebirds’ entrance gear, but they get shooed away by Pillman and Zenk, who sneak attack and send Hayes and Garvin to the floor. ‘Badstreet U.S.A.’ kicks back up and the champs mock The Freebirds for a second because hey why not. More stalling from Hayes, who shows off his dance moves and scowls at the ‘FREEBIRDS SUCK’ chants. Eventually the match finally happens as Pillman locks up with Hayes, the latter backing the former into the corner. Pillman dodges the cheap shot and connects with a series of chops followed by a clothesline. Garvin tags in and wants Zenk, Pillman happily obliges. Garvin with a waistlock takedown, Zenk quickly frees himself and slaps on a side headlock. Zenk counters a hip toss with one of his own and follows up with a dropkick, but misses the second one WHICH HURTS HIM FOR SOME REASON. Pillman and Zenk take turns wearing Garvin down, Pillman rolling him up with a crucifix for an early two-count. Hayes tags back in, sending Pillman to the apron with a right hand. Pillman hops the ropes and connects with a flying crossbody for a near-fall. After a near-fall off a sunset flip Pillman settles into an armbar (ARMBAR!). The champs continue work on Hayes’ left arm, Zenk with a Fujiawara Armbar. Hayes misses an elbow but doesn’t miss with a clothesline. Garvin tags in and goes to armbar city courtesy of Z-Man Air. Garvin counters into a headscissors, Zenk headstands out and the champs are back in control. Crowd suddenly gets REAL LOUD and looks off-camera at something happening. Somebody propose or something?
Pillman floats over Garvin and connects with a high knee. Hayes tags in and traps Pillman in a sleeperhold (Ross calls it a ‘sleephold’ which is goofy-sounding). Pillman gets a second whip and breaks the hold but runs right into Hayes’ patented left hook. HOT DAMN. Easily the best move in Hayes’ arsenal. The Freebirds go to work on wearing Pillman down. The tenacious Pillman does his best to fight back but gets clubbed right in the back of the head while attempting a backdrop. Pillman and Garvin run into each other awkwardly, Zenk gets the hot tag and connects with a beaut of a dropkick followed by a scoop slam. Garvin counters a backdrop with a kick to the mush and in comes Hayes to try and capitalize. Zenk with count-along rights in a corner mount followed by a sleeperhold (The Z-Lock) of his own. Pillman stupidly distracts the ref, allowing Garvin to hit Zenk from behind to break it. Hayes covers for the 1…2…Zenk barely kicks out. Hayes tosses Zenk to the floor, Garvin gets in a cheapshot behind the ref’s back. Zenk and Hayes brawl on the floor until The Z-Man gets sent shoulder-first into the post. Reverse chinlock by Garvin, who brags that Zenk ‘AIN’T GOING NOWHERE, BABY’, as this match starts wearing out its welcome.
Pillman finally gets bored of this and breaks the hold, but Hayes phantom tags in and back to the chinlock we go. Ref allows it because of course he does. You were so cool a half hour ago, Nick Patrick. Zenk escapes and rolls Hayes up in an inside cradle but he’s too weak and Hayes easily kicks out. Funk talks about toothpaste or some nonsense while we get ANOTHER chinlock that lasts for about three years. I love Terry Funk, but commentating is not his strong suit. Hayes to the top, Zenk tries to slam him but they’re both REAL SWEATY so that doesn’t work and it’s awkward. The WCW logo at the entrance stage is blinking uncontrollably. MORE THAT, LESS THIS. Hayes connects with a bulldog for the 1…2…Pillman breaks it up. Hayes goes for a backdrop, Zenk counters with a DDT and Pillman FINALLY gets the tag. Let the Dropkick Party commence! Pillman hits both Freebirds with a double clothesline, Zenk throws Hayes out of the ring. Garvin sends Pillman into the camera man then tries to DDT Zenk despite him not being the legal man. This leaves him open to a flying crossbody by Pillman, who covers for the 1…2…3. FINALLY.
Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk [c] defeated The Fabulous Freebirds to retain the NWA UNITED STATES TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP when Pillman pinned Jimmy Garvin with a flying crossbody (24:29)
- This was Pillman and Zenk’s first high-profile defense of the United States Tag Team Titles so I get WCW wanting to give them some time and a big win. But oh boy did this match DRAAAAAAG. There felt like a logical conclusion happening about fifteen minutes in but then NOPE we went back to chinlocks and another hot tag situation, and I was immediately over it. Sucks that Pillman and Zenk, an exciting and fresh team, got put into a match with The Freebirds, who were good at what they did, but were very much not equipped to keep up at this point in time. Jeez. It’s not necessarily a terrible match but the length really hurt it. (**)
The Freebirds IMMEDIATELY attack and lay out Pillman and Zenk to get their heat back. We sat through 25 LONG minutes for the champs to then be chumped out like that? Boo-urns, man.
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) [c] vs. Ole & Arn Anderson for the nwa world tag team championship
Ole and Arn are better known as ‘The Minnesota Wrecking Crew’ but only Funk calls them that at this point. From what I’ve read in the historical texts (Google), Arn and Tully Blanchard were supposed to be the Four Horsemen’s tag team again after leaving the WWF, but Blanchard failed a drug test and instead Ole stepped back into the ring for a bit to re-form the Crew instead of just being the Horsemen’s mouthpiece. The Steiner Brothers are friends of Sting and are looking for revenge on Ole and Arn for turning their backs on him, but this is also an interesting matchup in a ‘team of the 80s vs. team of the 90s’ way.
Arn kicks Rick off the apron and absent-mindedly bails from the ring to avoid Scott, only to be attacked by Rick. The Steiners pummel and clear the ring of both Andersons as the crowd joyously barks. I love that I recap shows where I can say dumb sh*t like that and it fits. Arn tries to goad Scott into his corner, but Scott doesn’t fall for it. Arn goes for a kneedrop, Scott blocks it and connects with an atomic drop that sends Arn right into the boot of Rick. Ole runs in and eats a scoop slam for his troubles, and the champs remain in control. Rick tags in and scares Ole right into the corner because of his dog-like ways. Rick fights out of the Crew’s corner, right hands for everybody. Scott runs in and for the third time the challengers are cleared out of the ring. Ole with a wristlock, Rick quickly reverses so Ole quickly tags out to Arn to prevent further punishment. Smort. Rick with a side headlock, hanging on through an Irish whip attempt. Arn attempts a leap frog, Rick easily counters with a powerslam for a two-count. Ole teases coming in but gets scared off. Arn drops a knee and heads to the top, but gets scared off when Rick threatens to deck him. Scott tags in and traps Arn in a Figure Four. Ole runs in, Rick pummels him into mush. Scott connects with a deadlift suplex followed by a kneedrop for the 1…2…not yet.
Rick tags in and counters Arn’s suplex with one of his own. Ole tries a buckle shot but Rick has a THICC SKULL and it does nothing. Ole settles for a waist-level kick and that does the trick on Rick. Rick trades rights with Ole, Ole tries to prevent the tag by grapevining the leg but Scott tags in anyway and everyone looks confused for a second before Scott grabs Arn in a headlock. Scott tries to clothesline Arn against the post but misses and his left arm goes into the steel. NOW it’s time for some limb-focused attacks. Doesn’t make as much sense to do it to Scott since he isn’t the guy on the team who has a clothesline named after him, but it is what it is. Arn with a hammerlock slam followed by an overhead armbar. Arn goes for a Vader Bomb but catches nothing but knees. Scott ducks a clothesline and connects with a Frankensteiner that POPS THAT CROWD, YO. Rick gets the ACTUAL hot tag of the match and it’s Steinerlines for EVERYONE. The Crew go for a double backdrop, Rick kicks Arn away and rolls Ole up in an inside cradle for the 1…2…3!
The Steiner Brothers [c] defeated Ole & Arn Anderson to retain the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP when Rick Steiner pinned Ole Anderson with an inside cradle (16:08)
- A quick out of nowhere ending to a pretty good match. Ole might have been past his in-ring prime here but they made it work and honestly I loved hearing him yell at the ref. We even got a little bit of that limb work for nostalgia’s sake. The Steiner Brothers were fun as usual, though not having the match end on the Frankensteiner was weird. Maybe I just misremember it as being a match-ending move or something. (***)
The Andersons attack Scott Steiner after the match, Ole hitting a flying knee off the top onto Scott’s left arm trying to break it. COLD-BLOODED.
-Cut to an interview from earlier in the day between Gordon Solie and ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger. Luger’s hair is GORGEOUS and all I can focus on as he vows to put Flair in the Torture Rack tonight.
-We rejoin Ross and Funk in the commentary booth. Funk is pulling for Flair in the main event tonight, which is nice of him considering Flair beat the tar out of him the year before.
-Back to Solie who’s LIVE with ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair and Woman. Flair is going to WALK THAT AISLE and tells Luger to ‘gear up’.
-Cut to the arena where Sting comes out in crutches to be the ‘special observer’ for the main event…but then goes to the back after Lex Luger makes his entrance (to his BANGER of a theme song). Poor guy, that knee injury looks naaaaasty.
‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair [c] [w/ Woman] vs. ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Sting was initially slated to face (and likely defeat) Flair at this PPV after being unceremoniously kicked out of and betrayed by The Four Horsemen, but ended up tearing up his knee while being pulled off a cage at the previous month’s Clash of the Champions event. Luger was put in Sting’s place, leading to a face turn in the process, and a lull in United States Championship defenses. Nick Patrick runs down the instructions to give that BIG FIGHT FEEL, which works. I am fired up.
Flair and Luger trade hammerlocks, Flair bails to the ropes to force a break. Flair shoves Luger, Luger shoves back harder and the champ is fazed. Luger with a side headlock, Flair counters into an overhead hammerlock but gets sent to the mat due to the power of The Total Package. Luger wants a test of strength, Flair STUPIDLY accepts and brings him to his knees with just one hand. A football tackle sends Flair to the floor to regroup, Ross naturally gets REAL HARD talking up Luger’s pro football history (which wasn’t much tbh). Luger wants to lock knuckles, Flair taunts instead. Flair tries to escape the ring, Luger brings him back in the ring for a military press slam, Flair rolling under the ropes to prevent a follow-up. Flair takes Luger down with a shoulderblock, Luger connects with another military press and goes for the cover, but he’s under the ropes so Patrick doesn’t count. Flair connects with a couple of jabs to the ribs but his chops don’t faze Luger and we get a THIRD military press slam followed by a standing bearhug. Flair almost passes out but finally manages to escape with an Olympic-level eye poke. Luger with the count-along rights in the corner, Flair flops to the mat. Luger charges at Flair, Flair dodges and Luger crashes to the floor.
Flair attacks a limping Luger, sending him crashing into the guardrail. Flair brings Luger in for a chop then tosses him back out. Woman distracts the ref, Flair continues using the guardrail and lays in a LOUD MF’N CHOP that sends the sweat flying. Luger gets to the apron, Flair drops him back to the floor with a right to the jaw. Flair drops a pair of knees across the forehead of Luger and covers but the challenger kicks out WITH FORCE. They trade blows, Luger misses a corner splash and crashes into the buckles shoulder-first. Flair brings him to the mat with a hammerlock, attempting to weaken the arm to make The Torture Rack less effective, using the ropes for leverage behind Patrick’s back. Flair twists the arm, Luger counters with a clothesline. Flair responds with a thumb to the eye and distracts Patrick so Woman can get a cheap shot in. WOMEN, AM I RIGHT? Flair slaps on a standing hammerlock, Luger feeds off the crowd that isn’t really cheering. Patrick prevents a cheap shot from Luger by grabbing the arm, leaving him open to a cheap shot from Flair. Shades of nWo Nick Patrick to come, dun dun duuuuun. Luger is no longer limping since we’re doing arm-centered offense now. Flair tries to use the ropes for leverage while covering Luger, but Luger is too strong for that to work.
Luger whips Flair into the corner so hard he flips over and out to the ring. Luger continues the attack with a guardrail shot. Luger no-sells the chops and Flair returns to the ring to beg off. Irish whips, Luger somehow ends up with a sleeperhold, Woman screaming in terror at ringside. Flair almost passes out but manages to get his foot on the rope when it turns into a pinning attempt. Luger applies another sleeper, Flair immediately counters into a belly-to-back suplex, and both are down. Flair tries to suplex Luger to the floor, Luger counters with a suplex back in the ring and wraps his leg around the steel post. Luger slingshots Flair to the mat and tries to put a Figure Four on but has no idea how to do it so Flair easily escapes. That was pretty funny. Flair charges, Luger catches him with a powerslam for the 1…2…FLAIR GETS HIS SHOULDER UP AT THE LAST SECOND. Oh dang. Luger no-sells some more chops and a flying forearm, Flair bails to the floor and pokes Luger in the eye. Back in the ring Luger counters a hip toss with a backslide for the 1…2…Flair kicks out again! Luger can’t believe it. Flair successfully hits Luger not once but TWICE with a top rope fist, to the shock and awe of everybody, for the 1…2…Luger kicks out. Flair connects with a butterfly suplex, Luger kicks out of the pinfall attempt once again. Flair with a backpack sleeperhold. Luger almost escapes, Flair sends him into the corner and rolls him up for the 1…2…nope. Luger hits a clothesline out of nowhere for the 1…2…Flair kicks out again and dodges a follow-up elbowdrop.
Flair goes after Luger’s left knee, weakening it for an impending Figure Four. Flair finally slaps the move on, holding the top rope for extra leverage. Sting makes his way back to the ringside area to cheer Luger on. Flair spits at him, hold still applied. Luger tries to turn it around, but Flair rolls through and holds it through a four-count while grabbing the ropes. Sting yells at Luger to ‘WAKE UP’ and kick his ‘YOU KNOW WHAT’ (he means the buns). Luger gets his wind back, no-selling a whip into the guardrail. Back in the ring Luger connects with another Military Press slam, Flair bails to the apron and climbs to the top, this time however Luger slams him off. Clotheslines from Luger as a cop at ringside appears to be jawing at some of the folks in the crowd. Wonder what happened there. Luger suplexes Flair back into the ring and covers for the 1…2…Flair BARELY gets the dang shoulder up. Luger goes another cover, Woman slaps him through the ropes. Luger brings Woman to the apron and Patrick tries to get in the way, and he gets bumped when Flair attacks from behind. Luger catches a flying Flair with a clothesline and gets a visual pin but Patrick is still out. Luger connects with a middle-buckle superplex for ANOTHER visual pin but still no ref. Ole & Arn Anderson run in, Luger quickly dispatches them and locks Flair in the Torture Rack. Meanwhile Arn grabs Sting from behind and Ole hits him with one of the crutches. Luger relinquishes the hold and attacks both Ole & Arn as the crowd goes nuts. Unfortunately Patrick is awake at this point and, despite being very reluctant, makes the 10-count. FLAIR RETAINS.
Ric Flair [c] defeated Lex Luger via countout to retain the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (38:02)
- A tremendous main event between two of WCW’s very best at the time and yes I’m being 100% honest. Lex Luger gets so much flack on Wrestling Twitter nowadays but can you stand there and tell me with a straight face that this dude wasn’t ON FIRE from 88-92? That’s peak motivated Lex and one of the best runs of anybody of the era. Being over 20 minutes my attention span did waver here and there, but they paced it well enough that whenever I was about to lose interest Lex would either belt Flair with a clothesline or Flair would do something dastardly to stay ahead. Although I’m not a big fan of countout finishes, at least here it made sense as Lex cemented his babyface turn by choosing honor over glory, defending the injured Sting against an attack by Arn and Ole Anderson. On paper it’s stupid but in execution it just makes Luger look all the more heroic and it works. Great way to end the show, glad we finally got another singles match before this PPV ended. (****)
Flair and The Andersons commence a three on one attack until The Steiner Brothers make the save and scare The Horsemen out of the ring.
-Ross and Funk sign off, hyping their next PPV in May. As of now it’s titled Armed and Dangerous, but it’ll be changed shortly after to Capitol Combat or ‘The One with Robocop’. ROLL CREDITS. I love that WCW had those.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: A great main event and a predictably great RNR/Midnight Express match aside, WrestleWar 90: Wild Thing is a mostly dull show with WAY TOO MANY TAG TEAM MATCHES for my tastes. The pacing of a lot of these matches felt off, with some (Norman/Jack, the US Tag Team Title match) getting way too much time and others (Chicago Street Fight) barely registering at all. Not one of WCW’s best shows and entirely skippable, but Flair/Luger is pretty good if you want to at least see part of it.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Ric Flair [c] vs. Lex Luger for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Some dork shows off his ‘We Have HERD Enough!’ sign in the audience like some sort of smart guy.