WWE: WCW Greatest Pay-Per-View Matches DVD/BluRay Review

We might as well get it over with at the start of this review. Yes, all of this is available on the WWE Network and no, the handful of exclusive Booker T hosting segments on this three DVD set don’t exactly mean you HAVE to purchase this if you have the Network.  But I’m simply going to review what IS on here and not spend time analysing the business practices of the WWE at large. 

And whilst this may not be completely the “Greatest” ever WCW pay-per-view matches, there is certainly enough top quality action on this set to make it well worth your time and money.

The matches are tackled chronologically,. starting at Starrcade 87’s Ronnie Garvin versus Ric Flair Steel Cage match and ending with Greed 2001’s Scott Steiner against Diamond Dallas Page match (which was the last ever WCW pay-per-view match).  There is a good mixture of genuine in-ring classics and historically important matches and very little is a chore to sit through.

The opening Garvin/Flair match is a curiosity as Garvin was very few people’s idea of a worthy world champion and as such the match lacks the tension of the greatest Flair moments. From there we get a deliberately paced Barry Windham/Dusty Rhodes match, featuring what seems like ten minutes of Windham holding The Claw on his opponent.  It won’t be to the tastes of all modern viewers as a result, but I enjoyed it greatly. Dusty Rhodes then teams up with Sting to take on The Road Warriors from Starrcade 1988 and whilst it’s the names rather than the action that carries the day it is entertaining to watch.  Much better from an in-ring point of view is the first of the famous Flair/Steamboat 1989 trilogy from the Chi-Town Rumble.

It’s the “worst” of the three in my eyes but is still an absolutely fantastic match that is required viewing.  You might expect less from the Lex Luger/Brian Pillman Halloween Havoc 89 match that follows it but whilst it obviously can’t hold a candle to Steamboat/Flair, it is a reminder that Luger could actually work and that Pillman was more than just a light-heavyweight.  Disc 1 ends with Sting’s moment of glory opposite Ric Flair at Great American Bash 1990; it’s a decent match but not perhaps the one that WCW might have hoped for in terms of passing the torch to Flair.  Still, you do get Ole Anderson handcuffed to El Gigante for your money here.

Disc 2 forwards us a year to Great American Bash as Lex Luger and Barry Windham clash for the vacant WCW title.  The “we want Flair” chants from the crowd throughout show where their loyalties lie (to the recently fired Nature Boy) and that hurts what is otherwise a reasonable match.  Two genuine five-star classics follow as Jushin Liger battles Brian Pillman from Superbrawl II for the Light-Heavyweight title and then we get the 1992 War Games match.  The former, much like the Flair/Steamboat encounter on disc 1, isn’t their best match but is still excellent whilst the latter is simply the greatest War Games match of all time.

Of course it was also on the recent War Games compilation, but you can’t argue with it’s inclusion here if showcasing the best WCW pay-per-view matches is your aim.  Three great rivalries round off this disc.  Cactus Jack against Vader from Halloween Havoc 1993 is not the best example of their feud given the Texas Death match gimmick means a ton of stalling throughout, but it is as brutal as you’d expect and showcases a different side to WCW.  Steve Austin clashes with Ricky Steamboat over the US Title from Bash at the Beach 1994 in a classic encounter before we finish with the Career Vs Career match from Halloween Havoc 194 as Ric Flair takes on Hulk Hogan.  I won’t pretend it’s a classic, and neither will I dwell on Flair “retiring” nearly two decades ago.  But the sheer insane nature of Sensational Sherri’s interference is worth keeping an eye out for.  She certainly earned her money here.

Disc 3 starts with the Bash at the Beach 1996 Outsiders versus Sting, Randy Savage and Lex Luger match which changed the entire fortunes of WCW.  Again it’s a match which has seen the light of day on other releases, but you can’t argue with it’s inclusion here, along with Hogan’s famous post-match speech. DDP and Randy Savage from Spring Stampede 1997 is a typical interference-filled match of the nWo era, but was perhaps Savage’s last great feud and proof that for all the sniping, Page certainly put the effort into making it as a superstar. Next is another five-star classic as Eddy Guerrero and Rey Misterio clash in their famous Halloween Havoc 1997 match.  It’s the last REALLY great match on the collection.

Bret Hart versus Randy Savage from Slamboree 1998 is here presumably for the star power (and Roddy Piper adds to this as guest referee) and Chris Jericho against Juventud Guerrera from Road Wild 1998 seems to be on simply to appease Y2J.  It’s decent but not the greatest Jericho match you’ll see from this time.  Goldberg versus DDP is a good one, one of the best bout’s that Bill ever had, but the inclusion of Jeff Jarrett against Booker T from Bash at the Beach 2000 is another here seemingly to appease a former WCW star on good terms with the “E”.  The reaction is genuinely loud to Booker’s win, although it may have just been relief from the fans that Jeff Jarrett was no longer champion.  A six man ladder match from Starrcade 2000 is high-impact but you never get the feeling that it means anything, and we close with a decent Scott Steiner/DDP match which closed Greed 2001, WCW’s last ever ppv. 

Although the action becomes a little less vital on the depths of disc 3, this is a remarkably strong collection of matches which generally deliver either in terms of action or historic importance. Flair/Steamboat, Liger/Pillman and War Games 1992 are three of my favourite matches of all time and they are backed up with classics involving Steamboat/Austin, Eddie/Ray and Rhodes/Windham.  This collection really does show what WCW was about in it’s various era’s and I certainly look forward to a volume two if it is as good as this.

– By Matthew Roberts | @IWFICON

Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our copy of WCW Greatest Pay-Per-View Matches. WCW Greatest Pay-Per-View Matches is available DVD and Blu-Ray from Monday 5th May. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.


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