Wrestle War 1990
February 25, 1990
Greensboro, North Carolina
When we last left off, Sting defeated Ric Flair to win the Iron Man Tournament at Starrcade. Unsurprisingly, Flair subsequently turned on Sting and kicked him out of the Horsemen. Sid Vicious took Sting's place in the group. That set up the big championship match for this show, Sting vs. Flair. People had been waiting for this ever since the first Clash of the Champions, when Stick went to a 45 minute time-limit draw with Flair. Everything was set and then...Sting blew out his knee climbing a cage at Clash of the Champions. Tough luck. So Lex Luger turned face (no one was really booing him anyway) and took Sting's place in the match against Flair. Perfectly fine replacement, and another match with history behind it. Let's get to the action:
Kevin Sullivan and Buzz Sawyer vs. The Dynamic Dudes
The Varsity Club has dissolved at this point and Sullivan has become the madman that he would play for the rest of his career. Sawyer is also crazy, so they make a good team. Johnny Ace beats up both guys early. Sullivan manages to throw Douglas outside, where he gets suplexed by Sawyer. Sullivan and Sawyer run a basic heat segment on Douglas until he breaks out of a Bearhug and tags in Ace. The Dudes clean house until Sawyer surprises Ace with a Snap Suplex and then hits a top rope Splash for the pin at 10:22.
Result: Sullivan and Sawyer by pinfall
Analysis: **. Basic tag match.
Cactus Jack Manson vs. Norman the Lunatic
Mick Foley's PPV debut. Norman the Lunatic is the Bastion Booger. Foley is incredibly skinny here. Norman looks a lot like Foley does today. The exchange punches and elbows early. Norman applies a Bearhug. Norman sends Cactus into the corner and he tumbles to the floor. Norman's gimmick seems to be that he's an escaped mental patient. Makes sense with the name. Cactus charges Norman and gets Backdropped over the railing onto the concrete floor. Cactus sends Norman into the ring post. Cactus hits a Dropkick off the apron! Not something you'd see from him in later years. Unfortunately, the camera didn't really catch it. Back in the ring, Cactus applies a chinlock. Cactus headbutts Norman, but it doesn't hurt him because he has no brain. Or something. Cactus grabs another chinlock. Norman powers out into an Electric Chair Drop. Norman shoots Cactus into the ropes for a Backdrop. Cactus tries a Piledriver, but Norman Backdrops out. Cactus tries a Sunset Flip, but Norman sits down on his chest for the win at 9:34.
Result: Norman the Lunatic by pinfall
Analysis: **. Surprisingly entertaining brawl. Remarkable to see Foley so young and thin and mobile here.
We go backstage to hear from Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express. He says some things never change: The Midnight Express is still the best tag team in wrestling.
The Rock N Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express
Last hurrah for two of the greatest tag teams of the 1980s. JR says he thought Cornette was a homosexual. Things that wouldn't fly today. Gibson and Lane kick it off. Gibson controls early and Cornette ends up getting into it with referee Nick Patrick. Cornette actually gets into the ring to challenge him to a fight but chickens out. Morton tags in and controls things for a little while. Cornette trips up Gibson and ends up getting punched out for it. Morton and Gibson double team and send Eaton crashing to the floor with a double Clothesline. Morton tags back in so that he can play Ricky Morton. Eaton and Lane go to work. Same match, different decade.
JR says that Ricky Morton "has been known to take a great deal of punishment." No shit. Morton gets a Sunset Flip that should get the win, but Cornette distracts the referee. The heat segment rolls on. Eaton hits a Diving Elbow Drop off the top, but Gibson breaks up the pin. Lane tags in and continues his arm work. Morton manages to get his knees up to block a Splash by Eaton. Morton tags in Gibson. Gibson goes house on fire. Gibson gets blasted by Cornette's tennis racket but kicks out at two. Good nearfall there. Eaton goes for a Flapjack, but Gibson counters into a Small Package for the pin at 19:31.
Result: Rock N Roll Express by pinfall
Analysis: ***1/2. Same formula as ever, but the formula is really good. These guys had worked together so much at this point that they could have done this match with their eyes closed.
We go backstage to hear from the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering. They've been sleeping in alleys in Chicago to prepare for this match. Also, they put 16 people in the hospital.
Chicago Street Fight: The Road Warriors vs. The Skyscrapers
Sid and Dan Spievey are both injured, so the Skyscrapers tonight consist of Mark Callous and The Masked Skyscraper. The Masked Skyscraper is Mike Enos, who was part of the Beverley Brothers in the WWF. In case you are unaware, Mark Callous is Mark Callaway, The Undertaker. One of many talents that WCW wasted over the years. According to JR, the Road Warriors are undefeated in Chicago Street Fights. Even here, you can see Callaway's talent. He moves remarkably well for a big man. Big brawl to start with the Road Warriors getting the better of it. In the midst of the match, Ron Simmons and Butch Reed walk down to the ring looking snazzy in tuxedos. First time we've seen Doom without their masks on pay-per-view.
The Skyscrapers are now in control with punches and chokes. Really not much of interest going on here. Hawk hits a nice Diving Clothesline off the ring apron. And then a Dropkick! Damn, Hawk brought his working boots. Callous gets Backdropped to the floor and the Warriors hit the Doomsday Device for the win at 4:59.
Result: Road Warriors by pinfall
Analysis: *. At least they kept it short.
Doom gets in the ring and we get a brawl. The Warriors get the better of it and Doom retreats to the back.
United States Tag Team Championship: Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk © vs. The Fabulous Freebirds
The U.S. Tag Team Titles were recently reactivated and Pillman and Zenk beat the Freebirds in the finals of a tournament. The first ten minutes are all Zenk and Pillman as the dominate with fast paced offense. There's some kind of commotion in the crowd (I think someone jumped the rail) so the match gets bogged down as Pillman works an Armbar. Pillman misses a Dropkick and gets worked over by the heels. After a long heat segment he manages to tag in Zenk, who cleans house. Zenk applies a Sleeper on Hayes, but Garvin drops him with a Double Ax Handle off the top. Now Zenk gets worked over. Zenk manages to land a DDT on Hayes and makes the tag to Pillman. All four guys end up in the ring and Garvin goes for a DDT on Zenk. Pillman comes off the top rope with a Crossbody for the pin at 23:15.
Result: Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk by pinfall
Analysis: **1/4. Some nice action, but really dragged. Probably longer than it really needed to be. The number of tag matches is really starting to get repetitive here.
NWA Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Brothers (c) vs. Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson
Arn gets pounded by both Steiners. He tags in Ole, who doesn't really fare any better. Arn tags back in and gets Powerslammed by Rick. Rick, being an idiot (in storyline) allows Arn to get to his corner and the Andersons take over. Scott tags in. The Andersons isolate Scott and work him over. Naturally, they work his arm. Just like in every other Arn and Ole match. Scott eventually hits a Frankensteiner and makes the hot tag to Rick. Rick hits multiple Steinerlines on both Ole and Arn and then gets Ole in a Small Package for the win at 16:04.
Result: Steiner Brothers by pinfall
Analysis: **1/4. Another by the numbers tag match. I'd really love to see a tag match that didn't follow the formula of faces controlling early, heels cheating to get the advantage, and then faces making the hot tag and comeback. All the tag matches tonight really got repetitive following the exact same formula.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair (c) vs. Lex Luger
Luger took Sting's place after he injured his knee. Sting comes out on crutches to a huge pop before the match. They do a long lead-in to the match with the referee patting down both men and giving them instructions. Basic chain wrestling to start. Luger holds his own with superior strength despite being less skilled technically. Luger challenges him to a test of strength and is thoroughly beaten. Flair gets Clotheslined and bails to the floor. Luger hits an impressive Military Press. Then another. He grabs a Bearhug. Ten Punch from Luger and a Flair Flop. Luger misses a Clothesline and tumbles to the floor. Flair gets the advantage down on the floor. Flair drops a couple knees back in the ring. Luger misses a charge in the corner and hurts his arm. Flair goes to work on that arm with a Hammerlock. The arm segment goes on until Luger gets pissed and grabs Flair by the throat. Luger throws him to the floor and goes to work. Back in the ring, Luger grabs a Sleeper Hold. Flair manages to get the ropes and then hits a Belly to Back Suplex. Luger makes it to his feet first and makes a very confused attempt to apply the Figure Four. Flair manages to escape as JR points out he clearly has no idea how to do the Figure Four. Luger hits a big Powerslam for a two count.
Flair counters a Ten Punch with an Inverted Atomic Drop. Flair applies a Sleeper. Flair works on the leg and applies the Figure Four. Sting makes his way to ringside. Luger manages to reverse the hold. Sting gets in Luger's face and tells him to get his shit together. Luger complies and Flair bails out of the ring. Luger stops selling. Military Press by Luger. Flair pokes him in the eye and goes up top. Naturally, he gets thrown from the top. Luger hits a series of Clotheslines. Luger Clotheslines Flair over the top rope. Isn't that a disqualification? Apparently not. Luger Suplexes Flair from the apron into the ring. Powerslam by Luger. He signals for the Torture Rack. Woman distracts Luger and Flair hits him from behind, bumping the referee. Luger hits a Clothesline and has Flair pinned, but there's no referee to count it. Superplex by Luger. Arn and Ole hit the ring. Luger beats them both out of the ring. Luger gets Flair in the Torture Rack! Ole and Arn accost Sting outside the ring. Luger sees this and goes outside to save him. Luger fights Ole and Arn and is counted out at 38:08.
Result: Ric Flair by count out
Analysis: ****1/4. Really good match. Slow in parts, but a good story and quality action. The count out is a little frustrating, but you want to keep Luger strong and keep the belt on Flair so that Sting can win it from him when he comes back.
The Steiners hit the ring and clear the Horsemen out after the match. They replay the end of the match. Basically, this is the one time Luger did the right thing and it cost him the world title.
Overall: Decent show. Nothing terrible on the card and a really good main event. Also some fun history with the pay-per-view debuts of Mick Foley and the Undertaker. They really showcased the tag division to the point where the matches got repetitive. Having eight tag teams wrestle in matches plus another interfere in a match puts nine tag teams on the card, which is remarkable. Main event was great, especially considering they had to throw it together at the last second due to Sting's injury. Luger was really, really over. The fans absolutely loved the guy even though he had been playing heel for almost a year.