Monday, June 9, 2014

Road to Wargames: Dangerous Alliance Vol. 5 (Rude, Austin, Anderson, Zbyszko, Eaton, 1992)

Hey yo Stud Muffins and Foxy Ladies,
What the hell is in the water over in the UK?


WCW TV Champion Steve Austin w/Mad USA vs. Scotty Steiner - WCW Saturday Night 3/14/92

Paul E. describing Madusa as Oliver North of WCW made me chuckle. The Pride of Michigan and Champion of the West hit the Tiger Driver/Frankensteiner combination on Austin, but Paul E. called for Plan B and the World Tag Champs Arn Anderson & Beautiful Bobby stormed the ring, but big brother Rick made the save. Scott Steiner seemed more restrained and focused in this match than in previous outings. He worked the mat really well and established early that he would dominate in that domain unless Austin pulled the hair. In addition, he was following up his highspots (suplexes and throws) with covers or matwork. He did have a tendency to start each exchange with a  kick to the gut or a whip into the ropes. This over reliance  seemed lazy and demonstrated poor transitions. Austin was perfect in bumping and selling for Steiner. Outside of the clothesline, Austin really had nothing in the way of offense. Pretty much Scott hurting himself or a Madusa kick was the majority of Austin offense. His over reliance on the chinlock is not 2005 WWE bad because he does work in some cheating, but overall it leaves a lot to be desired. Steiner delivers a hot finish stretch, which as a bomb thrower is his specialty. Steiner is adequate at selling and with some better transitions I thought this was the best showcase for Scotty Steiner as a future main eventer. Austin knows the fundamentals, but there was still plenty room to grow.


Dangerous Alliance (Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko) w/Mad USA vs The Steiners - WCW Saturday Night 3/21/92

The Steiners are great TV match workers because they have a ton of spots to pop a crowd that make you want to watch them in longer matches even if those matches do not always result in excellent matches. It does not get much better than Eaton and Zbyszko stooging and bumping for these powerhouses. The one element that Zbyszko brings that Anderson does not is heat and lots of it. The Larry Sucks chants started early and did not let up. The first three quarters of this match is a Steiners showcase. Scotty is so good at combining power moves with his amateur moves that make for a lot of cool spots. Rick is always there to knock the heels down the peg when they are feeling smart with a Steinerline. Eaton finally looks to get something going with an eyerake, but Scotty catches him with a belly to belly on the floor, but as Scotty ducks under Eaton he eats a spinkick from The Living Legend. I liked how that transition was earned rather than just abruptly changing course. Scotty is no great shakes as a FIP, but the heels were good at taking it to him with choking, sweet Eaton punches and a flying elbow. Would have liked to seen a Zbyszko piledriver that they teased. Scotty hits a Tiger Driver and tags in Rick for the home stretch. Madusa gets sandwhiched between Larry Z and the ropes. Scotty detains Eaton while Rick hits a belly to belly and the Steiner Bulldog for the win. It is an excellent showcase match for the Steiner, but without making the Dangerous Alliance to be jabronis. They still got their heat and Larry Z added a lot of heat to this match.


Arn Anderson (w/ Paul E  Dangerously) vs Ricky Steamboat - WCW Pro 3/28/92

Steamboat has answered all his criticisms from me in this feud. Steamboat is one of the greatest championship match workers, but sometimes leaves something to be desired in a blood feud. In the Dangerous Alliance angle, he has been red hot and taking it to the Alliance members with unwonted aggression. When AA jumps him at the outset with his robe still on, The Dragon fires back with kicks, chops and even eye gouges. Even when Anderson starts to connect with punches and a backbreaker, Steamboat is still coming at him. This is a perfect time for a chinlock as Anderson needs to slow the match down, catch his breath and sap Steamboat's energy. When Steamboat comes back off those rope with that high-energy attack and Anderson catches him in midsection is such high-quality wrestling. Steamboat is looking to keep it uptempo and at every turn Anderson is looking to slow it down. The spinebuster is another excellent sudden cutoff that keeps the match in Anderson's favor. Unfortunately for Anderson, he knocks his back into Steamboat, which is a great trademark Anderson spot. When he comes off the rope for double axehandle and he is caught in the midsection and flips over. I have to give them credit with how seamless this looked. So many times, the heel will stop short or it looks like he could never hit a move, but here it looked like Anderson would have hit the move if not for Steamboat connecting. The finish and post-match with Steamboat actually getting his hands on Paul E. and hanging Rude really surprised me. Paul E. does not strike me as someone to get physical (I know that changed with Punk and he took a mighty good asskicking) and I just thought it never happened on WCW TV. It was look to see Steamboat get in some licks on the loudmouth yuppie. Then hanging Rude after all Rude had done to him just shows how deep under his skin Rude had gotten to the Steamer for that to happen. Steamboat and Anderson should have a gotten a chance to have a classic on PPV, but still this was quite good. Each played their roles fantastically and worked at an excellent clip. The post-match really but over the new asskicker Steamboat in a real crowd-pleasing way. ***1/2


Bobby Eaton w/ Paul E. vs. Dustin Rhodes - WCW Power Hour 5/8/92

Wow! This one should not have snuck up on me given who is involved, but when I saw the 9 minute length on the video I thought I would I get a fun, but uneventful bout. Instead, Dustin and Bobby brought their A games and packed about as much as they could in less than 9 minutes. Stone Cold is so right it all begins with the lockup. They have an intense lockup and everything falls into place. Bobby hits his big right hand only for Dustin to return the favor. You are not going to intimidate this youngster. Bobby takes a huge bump off a shoulderblock to the floor. It is little things like that transform the otherwise ordinary shoulderblock into a spot. Dustin somehow starts bleeding hardway from his nose and in retaliation throws Eaton's head into the post, hits a huge dropkick on the floor and lariat on the outside. Dustin is PUMPED! Back in the ring, Eaton is able to chopblock Dustin and take over on the knee with some really good work including busting out a spinning toehold. I need to watch some Ricky Morton because I am really starting to think that '91-'94 Dustin cant be touched in the selling department. The ref gets bumped off a push off on the spinning toehold attempt. Dustin gets a sort of half bulldog/cross body on Eaton because he is selling the leg. Dangerously calls for help. Austin tears Dustin's head off with a wicked clothesline. If you are only going to have one move make it a badass one. Austin just so happens to be facing Dustin's partner Windham in a TV title match later that same weekend. Windham makes the save and the Lonestar Blonds clear house. Dustin was on fire here and Eaton matched him with great bumping early and knee work here. About as good of a 8ish minute match as you will get. ***1/4


WCW World TV Champion Steve Austin w/Paul E. Dangerously vs. Barry Windham - WCW Saturday Night 05/09/92 Saturday Night

Austin cut off his golden locks, but retained the shitty birthday part tights. You changed the wrong part of your presentation, brutha. Apparently though, Austin has said that his long hair was nuance in the ring because it was so thin that it easily tangled and pulled. Plus it was starting to thin all compounded into obvious need for a hair cut, but still a major upgrade to the tights is still necessary. I have watched this match a couple times before and have always been lukewarm on it. I finally can put my finger on it. There is really no comeback. Windham gets his ass kicked for the majority of the last two falls and then Austin swings and misses and it is all over. Windham clearly had the fire in his belly for the Clash and SuperBrawl matches, but here treats it as just a regular match. Don't get me wrong, he puts on a great showcase of selling, but he seems content, just to sell whereas Steamboat as this time was constantly struggling and making the heel earn it. Also, much like the SuperBrawl II match Austin ran out of offense in the third fall. He looked great in the second fall, but in the third fall he resorting to chinlocks. There is a decent enough kayfabe reason that time is on Austin's side because he retains the title in the event of the draw so it is behooved of him to wrestle conservatively. It just is not very entertaining. For me, the first two falls were by far the best work and the third fall was very anticlimatic.

The first fall was actually a pretty solid TV wrestling match unto itself. I would give that fall the same rating that I would give for the entire match. Austin works the headlock early, but Windham puts more effort into keeping moving with a back suplex, pinfall attempts and a top wristlock attempt, before cracking it with a second back suplex. Windham is so crazy athletic that when Austin sets early he just steps over him and hits a dropkick. That's wild. Windham hits a lariat and a floatover suplex (he won the first fall against Austin a couple weeks ago with that move) for a pair of nearfalls. Austin hits with his game-changing clothesline (ask Dustin) and looks like he busts Windham's lip open. Austin works a headscissors to keep Barry at bay using the ropes for leverage. I prefer holds like this to sap a babyface's energy rather than when you already have the babyface down and out. Upon the ref breaking it for the cheating, Barry hits the DDT, but before he can capitalize Austin nails him with a right. However, Windham is able to hit his beautiful floatover superplex to pick up the first fall. Really great work with Barry hitting big bombs looking for the win and Austin trying just to hang on.

In the second fall, with his back against the Austin really ratchets up his intensity. This is the best he look in the ring at this point in his character. He hits a stiff back elbow that sends Windham reeling through the ropes to the floor. Austin is just suffocating with his full court press on Big Barry: double axe-handle, gutwrench suplex, vertical suplex. Austin applies a camel clutch and Barry uses his head to hit Austin in the nether regions. Austin's game-changing clothesline keeps it in his favor and he hits the Stun Gun to even it up. Windham made Austin look like a million bucks with his classic glassy eye sell. The third fall is pretty mundane as it consists of Austin trying to milk the clock with holds and occasionally hitting an elbow drop. When the ref is inadvertently caught with a boot, Austin looks to blast Windham with the belt, but whiffs and Windham rolls him up to win. I was like all for that finish. No big comeback. I guess you want to protect Austin, but it was literally all Austin for the last ten minutes and it seemed like Windham just backed into a championship. Austin is rightfully pissed off and whips Windham with the belt, hits the Stun Gun and leaves with the TV Title in hand. I would put his match with Dustin at Havoc '91 over this, but this is still a solid TV match. ***1/4

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