Quarantine and lockdown continue to divide us into two groups. Those of us with so much extra time we are building bars and other extravagant sculptures in our gardens, and those of us who have forgot the luxury of using the toilet uninterrupted..
And so I continue on with part 4 of my search for short and sweet wrestling matches to help those who are as time strapped as I during these times.
Last week we looked at an all-time favourite of mine: Macho Man Randy Savage. That brought up some of his work in WCW during the mid to late 90s. During this time WCW was on fire starting with the introduction of Hogan and Savage, the birth of the nWo, and the evolution of the Horsemen with Ric Flair at the helm. We also saw the reincarnation of Sting, and Goldberg’s monumental undefeated streak, they really were the glory years for WCW.
However all good things must come to an end, and as the 90s became the 2000s WCW’s luck ran out. The new ideas dried up, the booking became hazardous, and the stars themselves took the pencil for their own storylines.
Before the mayhem there were some really good shows that had really good matches. The depth of WCW’s roster in the late 90s will probably never be matched again, just have a look around the cards of the matches listed below to see for yourself.
So as advertised, here are five memorable WCW matches under five minutes long that should give you a nice little glimpse into one of the hottest points in wrestling history.
Sabu vs Mr. JL – Halloween Havoc 1995 (3 minutes, 23 seconds)
Before the Giant fell off Kobo Hall in Detroit after battling Hulk Hogan in a monster truck battle (only to appear minutes later unscathed and ready for his title match), Sabu made one of his rare WCW PPV appearances to take on Jerry Lyn in his “Mr. JL” persona.
This went 100mph and was as crazy as you would imagine for a Sabu bout lasting only a few minutes. Both he and Lynn worked at a frantic pace to fit in as much as possible into their allotted time. At ringside Sabu took out Lynn and his father (the original Sheik) with an Asai Moonsault before crashing and burning with another Moonsault inside the ring moments later. He later crushed JL’s face with a Summersault Legdrop and dropped him on his head with a Victory Roll off the top rope.
JL had his own impressive repertoire, busting out a Moonsault of his own, a Sit-Out Powerbomb and a Top Rope German Suplex as the two athletic superstars went from spot to spot. Sabu finished him off with a Seated Top Rope Springboard Moonsault and to put the exclamation mark on this wild ride, the Sheik threw fire into JL’s eyes from ringside. If you want a stunt filled sprint with Sabu launching himself all over the place, this one is for you.
Respect Strap Match: ‘Taskmaster’ Kevin Sullivan vs Brian Pillman – Superbrawl 1996 (1 minute, 25 seconds)
The famous “I respect you booker man” post match off-script comments from Brian Pillman are what this match is well-known for, but the match itself was quite the minute and a half of action in true WCW style. This was supposed to be a leather strap I quit match, but neither stipulation ever developed (apart from Pillman “surrendering” and voluntarily uttering the now famous line).
Pillman was deep into his “Loose Cannon” gimmick and the real life feud between he and then booker Kevin Sullivan boiled over onto pay per view at Superbrawl 1996. Pillman, apparently, went completely off script and what was booked as a 12-minute strap match turned into a 90 second fight with a leather strap and a stiff, if not real, punch to the jaw.
In the months and weeks leading up to this point, Pillman’s behaviour backstage in WCW was stirring up noise between insiders, fans, and the wrestlers themselves. Pillman’s “Loose Cannon” gimmick had taken off and it would ultimately take him out of WCW, through ECW, and land him in the WWF.
As I mentioned, the match itself takes a back-seat to all the ongoings surrounding this bizarre situation, but for what it was this was a hell of a 90 second fight. If you want to see a semi-real shoot fight and a real life feud exploding into an on-screen angle, this one is for you.
WCW Tag Team Titles: The Outsiders vs The Steiner Brothers – Superbrawl 1998 (4 minutes, 16 seconds)
The big Steiner Brothers break up happened right here after a brief but intense brawl featuring Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Rick and Scott Steiner. The nWo was such a huge part of WCW history and it was on full show here as the Outsiders made their entrance to a monstrous pop. If there was any doubt to where the crowd’s allegiances lay Scott Hall asked them his usual survey on who they were hear to see: WCW or nWo, and the universal and unanimous response was a positive one for Hall and Nash.
The shortness of this match made sense in that if Scott Steiner was always intending on turning his back on his brother, then why go through the rigmarole of a long drawn out match with the guys he wants to team up with? A nice little hint of something being amiss happened before the opening bell when Ted DiBiase (who was in the Steiner’s corner) tried to give his team some last minute encouragement but Scott just walked off, something the announcers picked up on.
To stay in line with the story, Rick obviously started the match for his team and was a house of fire against the Outsiders. He hit Hall with a beautiful Overhead Belly To Belly Suplex before battering Nash out of the ring.
The Steiners then hit their signature pose with Rick on all fours and Scott standing over him begging their opponents back in for more punishment. But as Rick could not see Scott above him, the plan unfolded for all to see. Scott winked at Nash at ringside, lifted his arms in the air and Axe Handled Rick in the back of the head. The crowd immediately got to their feet knowing something big was happening, but another shot to Rick’s neck and a “too sweet” sign made it clear: Scott Steiner had joined the nWo. The crowd erupted and cheered as Scott lifted his brother up and Suplexed him as the commentators tried to make sense of it all. DiBiase ate a right hand for his trouble too.
The match itself actually continued for a few more moments. Rick showed his toughness by fighting back through the insurmountable odds, but after a cheap shot from Nash and an Outsiders Edge from Hall it was all she wrote for the Steiner Brothers and their WCW tag team titles.
Lex Luger vs Scott Steiner – Uncensored 1998 (3 minutes, 53 seconds)
I know you might be thinking “thank goodness these two didn’t go longer than five minutes”, but what we got here was a well put together four minutes of action from two experienced professionals. Like him or not, Luger was a hot act and main event level star in the mid to late 90s, and here Steiner was on the ascension in his singles WCW career so it was an interesting pairing to start off with. This card as a whole is star studded throughout and is worth a glance over to remind yourself how deep the WCW roster was at this time.
Steiner had his working boots on here thought as this was still a couple of years or so before he really slowed down due to injuries, and you could see his athleticism on show as he was Suplexed out of the ring to the floor and took a flip bump over the guard rail into the crowd. The match was over a few moments later after some interference and a distraction from Rick Steiner, but it did what it needed to do and it didn’t go longer than it needed to. It was well paced and didn’t show up any negatives for either competitor.
If you have any pre-existing negative expectations for either of these wrestlers, this one should be one for you to check out to maybe change your mind.
WCW Title: Goldberg vs Curt Hennig – Bash at the Beach 1998 (3 minutes, 52 seconds)
Six days after defeating Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW championship in front of 40,000 fans at the Georgia Dome, Bill Goldberg defended his newly won title against another member of the nWo in Curt Hennig.
With performances like this it is no wonder why Goldberg was as hot as he was and how he became one of the biggest stars in the Monday Night War era. Goldberg controlled the match and gave Hennig very little, but that was the norm for a Goldberg match.
What differs from other similar dominating performances was the man across the ring from the champion. Hennig’s selling was like no other. The bumps he would take and body language he would display portrayed Goldberg as even more of a monster that he already was. The one flash of offence Hennig got was brushed off with a thunderous Spear and a Jackhammer to bring the legendary streak to 112 – 0.
If you need reminding about how over Goldberg was in 1998 during his incredible undefeated streak. This one is for you.
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