While the Rock oversold it, it was entertaining as hell to watch him take it.
Shane McMahon sold it pretty well also.
While the Rock oversold it, it was entertaining as hell to watch him take it.
Shane McMahon sold it pretty well also.
Austin vs Adams is good stuff. Really good build with the heels constantly ganging up on the babyfaces with nefarious tactics. Jeannie is incredible except for when she's cutting a promo.
Steve Austin WCW Debut
The golden pipes of Gary Michael Cappetta introduce a man hailing from Hollywood, California, named "Stunning" Steve. No Austin yet, but he was a Hollywood Blonde from day one. "Vicacious" Veronica is with him, and she cuts a pre-taped-picture-in-picture promo as they walk out, while Steve agrees with the things she says. Like the WWF would do years later, they start out an A+ promo man with a mouthpiece. Whoops. "Vivacious" Veronica is doing an upper class snobby bitch thing, and is okay, but I miss Jeannie. Veronica is like an evil Miss Elizabeth where Jeannie is Satan. It's no contest. They're hotshotting Austin towards gold, though, as they're after Beautiful Bobby Eaton's TV title before he wrestles his first television match.
Chuck Coates is the footnote to this story. May his beating be glorious.
JR and Paul E. Dangerously on commentary. It's love at first sight for Paul E. "This man is more stunning than Bobby Eaton is beautiful." Austin already much crisper than his USWA days, taking Chuck down for a Fujiwara armbar in the same way Benoit would take people down for a crossface. Austin working him over stiffly, with strikes, and a harder than usual, body slam to the floor mats. Vivactious Veronica takes some cheap shots here and there. Austin does a few classic, get a two count, but come up before three, so he can beat him up some more. After a couple of suplexes, Austin nails Coates with a Stun Gun, as the set up for a tornado lariat, and a three count. JR says, "That's a real stunner right there," after the Stun Gun, so JR was always ready to yell Stunner after Austin did things. "Go ahead. Tell me he's not ready for the big time," Paul E. concludes. I wouldn't dare disagree during Steve Austin month.
Side note about Vivacious Veronica, she would actually show up on an early ECW card in 1992, way before it was Extreme, or Paul Heyman would have anything to do with it, and she was once in a mixed tag team match with a young Raven in Portland in 1990. Those are the only other things I can find on her, and both made me happy to know.
I know Austin gets all the credit in the world for setting PPV records. I am curious though, I have no idea how the PPV landscape was in the 80s and early 90s.
Was PPV even a big thing in the 80s and early 90s? I mean, if it isn't huge or popular already, setting records isn't exactly a big deal right? The records were low already, right? I may be wrong. But if the records were low already, then setting new one's isn't a huge deal.
We can look at a number of Manias that were in different environments.
Mania III was at a time when PPV was nowhere near as widely available as it is today. So it had the biggest buyrate ever but that was only 400k due to less people having access. However 450k people went out to arenas across the country to watch on CCTV which is more hassle than being able to watch at home. 850k people (not counting those in attendance) paying to watch, given the circumstances, could be argued to make this the biggest.
Two years later and Mania V did 650k on PPV, but a lower buyrate than III because more homes had access to PPV. It is basically impossible to say how the increased number of homes total increased the number of wrestling fans with access, as it would seem likely that a relatively large percentage of fans (in relation to the general populace) made sure they had PPV early on and the percentage of wrestling fans per total PPV audience has always been going down. This was also the last Mania with substantial CCTV, adding 117k, for a 767k total.
From this point, even with increasing PPV audience, they didn't get close to those numbers until the Austin/Tyson deal at Mania XIV (730k) and didn't beat Mania V until the next year at Mania XV (800k). Mania III wasn't toppled until Mania X-Seven which did 1040k and the first show to top a million. It was just at the start of the international PPV era (but not in a big market like the UK yet), so only 70k buys were international, with the other 970k being domestic, a record which is still like 100k more than any other show.
Mania 23 was well into the international era now and set the all-time record with 825k domestic and 425k international for 1250k total. This was now into a time when Mania's name power could be argued to be stronger than it had ever been. It was something that even lapsed fans ordered just because it was Mania.
Mania XXVIII then, only just, set the new record of 1253k with 733k domestic and 520k internationally (makes sense that Trump would get more buys in the US and Rock more buys internationally). It is easy to believe that Mania X-Seven would've gotten a similar (likely greater) international number if the infrastructure and environment was in place at the time and broken 1.5 mill. It should also be noted that Mania XXVIII did that number in an era where online streams are readily available and plenty of people are happy to just watch that way without paying (but we also can't say they would pay if those streams weren't available). I can't really say for sure that Mania parties and events, watching at pubs and bars and the like, are much more common now than in the recent past, but I'd think they are, cutting down on buys as well.
Steve Austin vs. Bobby Eaton - TV Title Match - June 29, 1991
This was broadcast on WCW Worldwide, and had Tony Schiavone and Gordon Solie on commentary. They make mention of Lady Blossom, not being there (I guess Vivacious Veronica only lasted a match or two), but I have a feeling we'll be seeing her at some point, because I've watched wrestling before, and I know how these things work.
So the story is, newcomer Stunning Steve, was audacious enough to immediately challenge Beautiful Bobby Eaton for his Television Title, and Bobby Eaton being a fighting champion, said yes. Austin obviously has the advantage, only being in WCW for a month tops, and there not being much footage of him.
It's a solid television match before a sloppy finish. Austin takes the early advantage, looking hungrier and more explosive, before the veteran Eaton capitlaizes on a mistake, and slows the pace down. Austin sells Eaton's comeback like a million bucks, calling a timeout after the onslaught. These are two of the best sellers of all time here.
The best spot of the match is Austin, deciding to start targeting the throat, press slamming Eaton onto the guard rail on the floor. Eaton was standing on the apron, so Austin had to launch him. Eaton eventually regains control after Austin misses his Big Bossman running guillotine on the middle rope. Then it's classic Bobby Eaton, with a swinging neck breaker, and an Alabama Jam off the top rope.
The Lady Blossom comes out of nowhere. She enters the ring and referee Nick Patrick (!) comes between her and Bobby, before Bobby pushes Nick down to get himself some Jeannie. Lady Blossom claws Bobby's fucking eyes out, Austin school boys Eaton, and Nick Patrick, who was momentarily hurt, not to see Lady Blossom clawing eyeballs, quickly recovers, to count to three, as Stunning Steve Austin pins Beautiful Bobby Eaton for the television title, in his first month in WCW.
Gary Michael Cappetta makes it official, and uses the full "Stunning Steve Austin" name this time.
Lady Blossom wrestles the belt away from Stunning Steve, and celebrates the win like she just won the title, which she kind of did, on their walk to the back.
After the match, a masked man named Yellow Dog comes out for an impromptu interview. This is notable, because Yellow Dog is the recent loser of a Loser Leaves Town match, trying to go incognito, and that loser was Brian F'n Pillman. Austin and Pillman, as we all know, will eventually have quite a history with each other, although it's totally a coincidence that they've shared Austin's first important national segment, as there were no plans for that yet.
I was surprised by that title win, this guy I never heard of already getting a shot at the title and winning? Despite doing very well in the ring and liking his aggressiveness I actually outright hated Austin until he became a bit more comedic with the Blonds in '93. His look with the ponytail/bowl cut combined with his smugness and very favorable booking for a new guy made him probably my least favorite heel in WCW in 1991-92. It's ironic how it all ended for Austin in WCW getting the shaft from Hogan and Dusty after seemingly being the "golden boy" heel at the beginning. He was very effective at his job though to make me hate him that much in the early going. During his WCW run I thought he had potential to be an occasional main event guy but certainly not arguably the biggest star of all time.
Yellow Dog had to be a Barry Windham idea since he portrayed the same character after he was exiled from Florida in the mid 80's.
Last edited by The Icon; 03-09-2016 at 11:59 AM.
Stunning Steve Austin: Television Champion to Dangerous Alliance
So Stunning Steve Austin wins the Television Title in early June of 1991, but because it's a match for WCW Worldwide and that airs a few weeks later, he goes into Clash of the Champions 15 on June 12, without the belt, as they pretend it hasn't happened yet. WCW airs quick vignettes during this event: "Coming soon. To an arena near you. From Hollywod California. Stunning Steve Austin." It's got a hint of Goldust glamour that the WWF would do four years later. Austin squashes a man named Joey Maggs, while Tony Schiavone and JR put over Austin as a prodigy, saying things like, "He's only been wrestling for about two years, but he has been one of the quickest starters ever in the sport."
The Eaton match airs two weeks later, and now everybody knows Stunning Steve Austin is the Television Champion.
Austin's first feud is against...PN News. News was like a one man Men on a Mission, just a fat rapper guy, who sucked ass in the ring. WCW must've been really aware of this, because in the first high profile match between Austin and PN News, they stick News in a tag team with Bobby Eaton, whose made an entire career making tag team partners look better than they are. Austin teams with Terry Taylor, who was beginning a poor man's Million Dollar Man gimmick, at the time, recently becoming member of The York Foundation.
At the Great American Bash in July, Austin/Taylor vs. News/Eaton takes place, and to protect News even more, they make it a match that requires no wrestling whatsoever -- A Scaffold Match. The match is predictably bad (Although Meltzer rates it ***1/2 for some reason). There's never been a ***1/2 scaffold match. Ever. In a funny note, according to Wikipedia, "On the day of the show, a "capture the flag" stipulation was added as the wrestlers were unwilling to perform a risky fall from the scaffold." When you see how high the scaffold is, you will not blame them, however this wrinkle made this one of the most anticlimactic endings in wrestling history. Eaton grabs a flag, he hits Austin once, and then he slowly walks to other scaffold, like he's taking a stroll in a really narrow park. The most interesting thing to happen in this terrible match, is after it's over, Austin climbs down the scaffold, grabs some hair spray from Lady Blossom, and sprays Bobby Eaton in the eyes.
Fortunately for Austin, and unfortunately for a wrestler named The Angel of Death, the PN News push got squashed, when News accidentally squashed The Angel of Death's knees during a botched splash. Angel of Death was put on the shelf for over a year, and News push was over.
Austin spent the rest of The Great American Bash tour wrestling Bobby Eaton mostly. This must have been a great learning experience for Austin, as he puts Bobby Eaton over as practically an equal to Flair in the ring, to this day. He wrestles his first match against Pillman during this time too, still doing the Yellow Dog gimmick, and on the last day of the tour, even makes it to the finals of the vacant US Title Tournament, losing to Sting.
Not a bad Summer for Stunning Steve. Debuts in May, wins a title in early June, and on the last event of August, wrestles Sting in the main event.
Austin's next big television match, is a title defense against Tom Zenk at Clash of the Champions 16 in September. It's a pretty average match that ends with Lady Blossom handing Austin some brass knucks, who uses them when Zenk goes for a belly-to-back suplex, and gets the win. Lady Blossom hides the knucks between her tits, which results in this exchange.
"Tony, I think you go up there and search them."
Between Clash and Halloween Havoc, Austin as the TV Champion, is a huge part of most of the WCW's television shows beating jobbers like, Keno McKenzie, Kerry Botth, Tommy Angel, Kip Abee, TC Carter, John Peterson and even wrestling a couple matches against Brian Pillman and other non jobbers that end with some sort of shenanigans (usually Austin getting DQ'd by Lady Blossom interference, or Austin throwing people over the top rope for the same result).
On the house show circuit, Austin is on a collision course with "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes, who is only 21, and kind of the baby face version of Austin, the prodigy, finding immediate success in WCW. Things seem to start off in mostly six man team tags, with Dustin Rhodes teaming with Bobby Eaton & Big Josh and Austin teaming with, get ready for it, Hall & Nash. A team of Stunning Steve, Diamond Studd and Oz wrestled in front of 600 people who would have no idea they were staring at the three biggest game changers of the Monday Night Wars.
Rhodes & Big Josh would go against Austin & Hall, or Austin & Nash for a couple weeks, before Rhodes and Austin would starting working out their singles match for Halloween Havoc.
Austin and Rhodes wrestled 12 draws on their way to Halloween Havoc, where they would go on to wrestle the biggest match of both their careers so far.
Steve Austin vs. Dustin Rhodes - Halloween Havoc
The match begins with JR and Schiavone talking about how shockingly good these two young guys are, but JR goes out on a limb and says,
"If I was starting a franchise, if I had a draft choice, I'd use it on Stunning Steve Austin because here's a guy, that's never been in WCW before this year. He is already ranked #4 in the entire world. And if you turn your television on, you're very apt to see Stunning Steve Austin defending that Television Championship. He's been a fighting champion."
Somebody hire that man as head of talent somewhere. You could tell Austin and Rhodes have spent the last two months wrestling each other, as the first five minutes fly by with chain wrestling reversals. These are big boys moving fast and being extremely crisp with their holds. This was pretty rare in 1991. Austin slows things down with rest holds in the next five minutes, before Dustin, now free, attempts a cross body, but misses, and falls to the outside. It's the first big mistake of the match, and Austin capitalizes, pounces on Rhodes on the floor, doing some ground and pound and busting Dustin open into a bloody mess. The pace picks back up for the last five, both knowing that the time limit is running out, with Dustin getting the better of this block, even returning the favor and busting Austin open too. The time limit ends as Dustin looks like he's about to win. That old gag. Steve Austin retains the tile in what had to be the best match of both their careers up to that point.
As good as this match was, something much more important happened at Halloween Havoc. A young announcer named Paul E. Dangerously, just recently fired as a commentator revealed, that although they fired him at commentary, he still had his manager license, and would be using the just signed, Ravishing Rick Rude, to exact revenge on WCW. In the coming weeks, the first Hostile Takeover of WCW would begin, with Paul E.'s Dangerous Alliance being complete by mid November.
In a radio interview with the PW Torch early the next year, Paul E. in half kayfabe/half shoot says this about the least known member of The Dangerous Alliance.
"As far as the future of wrestling goes, there is not a better prospect, there is not a better person, there is not a better man, there is not a better franchise out there today, than Stunning Steve Austin, the world's television champion, the best wrestler on TV today. Steve is going to be the man to carry wrestling to the year 2000."
"He's world champion material today."
Last edited by Kilgore; 03-09-2016 at 10:16 PM.
looking forward to your review of his feud with barry windham for the tv title. those fuckers went to many a draw on wCw Saturday night from what I remember. and while young jackknife and his younger bro hated Austin we had a high respect for that fucker as he was hard as hell to pin down for the 1-2-3.
"Everyone back to my trailer for pot pies and mountain dew" - Kevin Nash
Haven't chimed in lately but I'm still reading everything and digging this project.
JR & Paul E. knew what was up.
I've always toyed around with the idea of rebooking WCW without Hogan coming in. (Yeah, I know...ANOTHER rebooking project ) Dustin & Austin were clearly being groomed as the next generation Dusty & Flair. I think it would have been fun to see that play out in some alternate universe.
Now to get caught up on the matches....
First time I've ever seen that Austin/Dustin match and the Dangerous Alliance formation. Both are Baker Approved.
Austin/Dustin is in the *** range. Maybe a little higher. I really enjoyed it. Kilgore wasn't kidding. These guys moved around the ring like cruiserweights early on. Dustin took an awesome bump on the missed crossbody. Then Austin, whose punches I shit on last time, gives me a figurative middle finger by leveling Dustin with a series of nice looking rights to the face on the floor. Dustin bleeds. Lady Blossom gets into the action with some stiff slaps. She would have been perfect for 95-96 ECW. Dustin eventually makes his comeback. Austin bleeds after a post bump. The crowd heats up. They don't do any crazy moves but everything looks nice and snug. No fakery here. Both guys bump well. There is a clear face/heel story. JR & Tony are good on commentary. The crowd (including Dustin's granny) is fine. This is just a good piece of business that has me looking forward to their big '93 matches which I did not enjoy the last time I watched them some 10-15 years ago.
Then we get a typically great Heyman's promo as he introduces one of my all time favorite stables one by one. I'd have been marking out so hard had I been watching the DA formation in real time. I know this because even watching it twenty-five years later I was marking out a little
So I decided to give that scaffold match with PN News a watch, and it is pretty bad. I don't blame any wrestler for not wanting to fall from the scaffold though. That scaffold was way to high, especially considering how often people got hurt in those matches. It might have been the same height as always, but you would think NWA would have lowered the scaffold after all of the injuries in those matches.
Last edited by Leper Messiah; 03-10-2016 at 01:22 AM.
End of a Title Reign.
About once a year, we do a "Definitive Champions" list of some sorts here and every time I do WCW Television Champion, it's Stunning Steve Austin. This is not because Steve Austin became so famous after the fact, it's because in two reigns, for 431 out of 457 days, Stunning Steve Austin was the Television Champion, and due to the nature of the title, that meant he was defending it on pretty much every television show WCW had and even when he wasn't defending the title, he'd be in some sort of Tag Match with Dangerous Alliance members. I remember seeing Austin pretty much every time I turned a WCW show on for two straight years. Now memory can be wonky, so I thought maybe my mind was exaggerating, but this was what I found:
1/4/92 (Power Hour): Steve Austin vs. Ron Simmons
1/11/92 (Pro): Steve Austin vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwelll
1/18/92 (Pro): Steve Austin vs. Mike Graham
1/25/92 (Power Hour): Steve Austin vs. Ron Simmons
2/1/92 (Power Hour): Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, & Ron Simmons vs. WCW TV Champion Steve Austin, WCW Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton
2/8/92 (Power Hour): Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat
2/16/92 (Main Event): Austin/Rude/Eaton vs. Sting/Steamboat/Bagwell
2/17/92 (Saturday Night): Austin/Eaton/Anderson vs. Bagwell/Zenk/Firebreaker Chip
2/29/92 (Superbrawl):Austin/Zbyzsko vs. Rhodes/Windham
3/9/92 (Main Event): Steve Austin vs. Rick Steiner
3/14/92 (World Championship Wrestling): Steve Austin vs. Scott Steiner
3/21/92 (World Championship Wrestling): Steve Austin vs. John Collins
3/25/92 (Saturday Night): Steve Austin vs. Tom Zenk (2 out of 3 falls Match)
3/28/92 (Main Event): Austin/Anderson/Eaton vs. JYD/Armstrong/News
4/4/92 (Power Hour): Steve Austin vs. Rick Steiner
4/5/92 (Main Event): Austin/Rude/Anderson vs. Windham/Rhodes/Steamboat
4/12/92 (Main Event): Austin/Eaton vs. Windham/Rhodes
4/18/92 (Worldwide): Austin/Zbyszko vs. Casey/Allen
4/18/92 (Pro): Austin/Rude/Arn vs. Zenk/Armstrong/Bagwell
4/19/92 (Main Event): Austin/Zbyszko vs. Bronson/Rice
4/25/92 (Saturday Night): Steve Austin vs. Barry Windham (2 out of 3 falls match)
4/25/92 (Power Hour): Steve Austin/Zbyszko vs. Scott Allen/?
5/2/92 (Worldwide): Steve Austin vs. Firebreaker Chip
Nope, my memory was correct. Austin's 1992 schedule was brutal. He's already had (at least) 23 television matches, (at least) 82 total matches, and it's only the beginning of May. By the way, he was already Television Champion for seven months before 1992 even came around. This is the first part of the greatest Television Championship Run in WCW history, and even if Austin washed out as The Ringmaster in 1996, and never became Stone Cold, I'm pretty sure I'd still believe that.
So we're in May of 1992 and this is probably the peak of The Dangerous Alliance angle. Members of the DA have been taking on some variation of Sting, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Ron Simmons and Nikita Koloff in multi-man tags, and offshoot singles and traditional tag matches for the entire year. Austin has found himself in most of those multi-man tag matches, and highly competitive singles matches with Ricky Steamboat, and especially Barry Windham too. Austin vs. Windham has reached it's boiling point, and a War Games Match between The Dangerous Alliance and Sting's Squadron is two weeks away. Shit's about to go down.
As Jacknife remembers, Austin and Windham have wrestled a couple of Best 2 out of 3 Time Limit draws, which have been controversial, because Windham would often win one fall to Austin's zero.
May 9, on WCW Saturday Night Taping, they would try again:
Steve Austin vs. Barry Windham
This match seems like it's in slow motion compared to the Dustin Rhodes match from Halloween Havoc, but I promise you, that doesn't really matter. The way these two sell for each other, it makes it seem like this is one of the most grueling matches that has ever taken place. Windham, eyes rolled in the back of his head, as the top turnbuckle keeps him up from falling, these two make every single move count. The pace may test some viewer's patience, especially early on, but it's totally worth watching the grind they sell. Little things like Barry's selling of exhaustion, or Paul E. holding the TV Title in front of Barry's face, screaming, "HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT? THIS IS STUNNING STEVE AUSTIN'S TITLE! AND YOU CAN'T HAVE IT, BARRY! YOU. CAN'T. HAVE. IT." This is (at worst) the second best singles match Austin has had so far.
Windham wins the first pinfall via superplex with his floatover.
Austin wins the second pinfall via Stun Gun.
Windham wins the third pinfall after Austin misses hitting him with the belt, and Barry rolls him up for the pin.
After 329 days, Stunning Steve Austin's Television Title reign is over, but he attacks Barry after the bell, and walks out with the belt, anyway.
War Games is next.
I remember being so damn happy Barry finally got the belt off Austin, then like a few weeks later on what was either a clash or PPV I think Austin just pops up with a new fuckin TV title belt he won off Barry in some un-televised match. sucha damn buzzkill that was.
such fleeting happiness
"Everyone back to my trailer for pot pies and mountain dew" - Kevin Nash
It is refreshing to see a lot of emphasis put on Austins WCW career. The WWE tends to focus on his feuds with Rock and Vince. Part of the reason I'm not a big fan of the DVD's they release. They act like his time as Stone Cold was the only time he spent wrestling.
End of An Alliance. Another TV Title Reign. And a new friend.
"It's not a line-up, it's not an army, it's not a stable, and it's not a family. It's an alliance of business men who will bring WCW down to its knees."
-Paul E. Dangerously
War Games 1992: The Dangerous Alliance vs. Sting's Squadron
This is my favorite NWA/WCW War Games that ever took place. It's a match made for a heel stable to get their cumuppence, as the Four Horseman would before, and the nWo after, but something about this one worked better than them all.
The talent is through the roof, so there's that. Steve Austin and Dustin Rhodes, coming into their own, Sting, having the best in-ring year he would ever have, Ricky Steamboat, still one of the best wrestlers in the world, Rick Rude, hitting his wrestling prime, Barry Windham, in the last year of his, Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton, as solid as ever. Zbyszko and Koloff are probably the weakest links in the ring that night (they've both seen better days), but they are absolutely crucial to the story of the match, and hold their own.
Austin and Windham start off the match, and pick up where they left off in the TV Title Match from two weeks ago. In a lot of ways, this would be Steve Austin's breakout match. He's only been in WCW for just less than a year, and he's spent 95% of his run there as the TV Champion, but this is the main event of a pay per view, in the most signature match WCW would ever produce. This is a different animal, and Austin shines, carrying most of the match.
Austin is bleeding four minutes into the match. He bumps like a lunatic. He's bounced off the ceiling of the cage, he flies from one ring to another, he gets back body dropped into the side of the cage. Austin is bumping like a man who wants to be the next Ric Flair. Bigger than Flair, maybe.
The structure is pretty typical for a War Games. The heels win the coin toss, so they get the odd man advantage, and they cheat. A lot. The babyfaces have a teamate where they don't really know where he stands (Koloff). The heels have a teammate who they consider the weak link, and are afraid he might fuck things up (Zybszko).
How does it go wrong for the Alliance? Madusa climbs to the top of the cage and slips Paul E's brick phone to Arn Anderson, who successfully uses it to cheat. That's not enough, though, and the Alliance starts taking apart the ropes to try and use the turnbuckle as weapon. Nikita Koloff reveals himself to be trust worthy, and the baby faces become the stronger team. Larry Zybszko pries free the broken turnbuckle and inadvertently hits Bobby Eaton in the shoulder. Sting takes advantage of this mishap, puts Eaton in a shoulder lock, Eaton submits, and referee, Bill Alfonso(!), calls for the bell, daddy.
Sting's Squadron wins.
After the match, The Alliance scapegoats Zybszko, all yelling at him, while Larry makes excuses. This was the beginning of the end for the Dangerous Alliance. Larry would be out in a couple weeks (Austin would be the first to wrestle Larry on Saturday Night), and the angle would slowly sputter out, with Rick Rude/Madusa doing their own thing, and Arn/Bobby hanging out with Michael Hayes instead. They tried a revival at Halloween Havoc, but Paul E. was gone a couple weeks later, in a bitter contract dispute.
Arn Anderson has repeatedly said The Dangerous Alliance were as talented as any Horsemen incarnation there's ever been. They "just didn't have good booking." Well, that bad booking stayed, as Paul E. would begin an epic booking stint in Eastern Championship Wrestling a few weeks later.
Austin stuck around Paul E. the longest before that, though, as he set his sights on getting his Television Title back. In early June, Austin and Windham would have their rematch.
Austin vs. Windham Rematch
Austin recaptures the Television Title in a match not as good as the previous one. Kind of a choppy pace, that never gets into full gear. There's a bit of a Dusty finish, where referee, Bill Alfonso(!), counts to three while Austin has a foot on the rope, but he sees it as soon as his hand goes down for the three count, so he calls it right down the middle and never rings the bell. Windham doesn't even celebrate, knowing instantly to get back to work. From here, Paul E. runs in the ring, where Fonzie cuts him off. Windham tries to get at Paul E., and while this takes place, Austin goes to the floor, grabs the TV Title, and knocks Windham's lights out with it, while Fonzie is directly behind Windham, unable to see it. Austin gets the three count, and is, for the second time, the WCW Television Champion of the World.
Austin would reign for another 100+ days, defending mostly against Windham and Steamboat. There was also this fun defense against Brian Pillman with a cool finish. But it was Steamboat that became Austin's main rival during the second title reign, and it's to Steamboat he'd lose the belt at Clash of the Champions 20 in September.
But another interesting thing happened at COTC 20 -- Brian Pillman turned heel on Brad Armstrong -- And when Brad Armstrong/Dustin Rhodes would challenge Pillman to a tag match a couple weeks later, Pillman would turn to a man that had spent the last year beating them both -- Stunning Steve Austin. Austin, needing a partner to take on the new Steamboat/Douglas tandem, found this arrangement mutually beneficial.
This would be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
ahhh that war games was the first ppv my family ever ordered off cable PPV and my first to watch live. loved the hell out of that PPV.
my only true complaint was that if Eaton was booked to tap why didn't Sting use the scorpion? why was it set up that Eaton gets hit in the arm and taps to such a weak submission. Eaton gets hit with the weapon in the body and goes down and Sting quickly slapping on the Scorpion deathlock would of been such a more memorable finish.
"Everyone back to my trailer for pot pies and mountain dew" - Kevin Nash
Fucking great review of that War Games match. I had only recently seen that one for the first time and was thoroughly blown away by it. Dangerous Alliance was all before my time unfortunately. I finally watched through the Paul Heyman era of WCW on the WWE Network a while back and it really put so much of what happened in ECW into perspective/context. I didn't really get into WCW until just before Hogan came along(the build up to Spring Stampede 94 is where I can remember getting into the WCW product, though I would rent the older WCW tapes whenever I could), by that time they were not doing much with Austin, I can only vaguely remember him in WCW.
This has kind of become Kilgore's thing, and I'm in the midst of a busy stretch, so I can I make a request? Austin & Rude vs. Sting & Steamboat from the January '92 Clash. Remember loving it back in the day and was wondering how well it holds up. Watching that whole show on tape in late 95-early 96 is what turned me into a Dangerous Alliance fanatic. I had never even heard of them before I saw that tape. I missed out on so much greatness
I have very similar memories to Jackknife. I had a huge sigh of relief when Windham beat Austin for the TV title, I thought that reign was never going to end. Another great match is Windham/Rhodes vs. Austin/Zbysko from Superbrawl II. In the ring Austin was a real solid technician around this time and this often gets forgotten when assessing his entire career. His matches with Windham, Steamboat and the rest of Sting's gang while being in one of the most talented groups of all time showed he could hang with some of the best in ring talents and not look out of place.
I don't really recall the early part of the Pillman/Austin partnership. Early in Pillman's heel run they turned Windham heel as well and had them team against Dustin an Steamboat. I'm looking forward to the next installment to fill in this little gap in Austin's history.
1993: The Tag Team of the Nineties
The origin of The (4th and most successful version of the) Hollywood Blonds (sometimes spelled correctly as Blondes), was visionless. WCW threw Austin and Pillman together, for no good reason, really. October of 1992 saw Austin/Pillman tagging a few times against Rhodes and Armstrong, Steiner and Bagwell, and a couple squashes against jobbers. After accidentally throwing together two of the greatest heels of their time, in typical WCW boner fashion, WCW pulled the plug on the pairing, and started teaming Pillman up with Barry Windham instead.
Well, it could've been worse. Pillman/Windham were a pretty cool tag team too, and feuded with Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas, unsuccessfully challenging them for the WCW Tag Titles at Starrcade. By the end of December, Windham (kayfabe) brought in Austin as Pillman's tag partner, so he could focus on singles wrestling, and a tag team of "Stunning Steve Austin and Flyin' Brian" was born, and picked up where Pillman/Windham left off, challenging Steamboat/Douglas for the titles.
Austin/Pillman were immediately great. They debuted in early January, and two weeks later, were in a match of the year contender at Clash of the Champions 22, against Steamboat/Douglas. Austin and Pillman meshing in the ring probably wasn't a surprise, as they were two of the best workers in North America, at the time, but them having immediate chemistry as personalities, could have never been predicted. They were immediately the best heel tag team in wrestling, and having rarely spoken prior, fast became running buddies on the road (along with a young Raven, completing a trifecta self proclaiming themselves "The Comedy Trio*").
Austin describes the "The Comedy Trio" as: "We were three funny guys who traveled together. And we had our own Comedy League within the company, with a Comedy League Heavyweight Champion, as voted by his peers. The Comedy League Heavyweight Champion at the time was Kevin Nash. We had a tournament to crown the champion, which consisted of Brian, Raven, and myself, Nash, Cactus Jack, Tex Slazinger (Mideon), Shanghai Pierce (Henry Godwin) and Dan Spivey (Waylon Mercy). Spivey was a dark horse candidate for champion. Shanghai Pierce was our traveling secretary and head of security."
By the end of January, they beat Steamboat/Douglas in a non title match, and it was becoming apparent that this was no longer Stunning Steve, and Flyin' Brian, two dudes thrown together for no reason. This was a real tag team. They needed a name, they needed matching gear, even a signature pose. The Comedy Trio got a kick out of an often used territory gimmick, called The Hollywood Blonds, first used in the NWA Tri State in 1970, and repeated (at least) two more times in The Mid Atlantic and Florida. With Austin, already billed from Hollywood, California, it was an easy thing to sell to WCW.
The newly named Hollywood Blonds would defeat Steamboat and Douglas in March in another very good match, to many many cheers. Cool heels probably always existed, but 1992 was when I first started to notice fans really coming out of the closet to cheer them at a noticeable clip (I had missed the original Four Horsemen run, which definitely applies, and didn't really notice until Sid at Royal Rumble '92, and The Dangerous Alliance the same year). The Hollywood Blonds in 1993 were one of the more undeniable revelations for this new phenomenon. After two defenses against Dos Hombres (Steamboat and Douglas under masks, in the first, and Steamboat and Tom Zenk under masks, in the rematch, after Douglas got fired), The Hollywood Blonds would embark on their signature feud.
The Hollywood Blonds, the self proclaimed "Tag Team of the Nineties" set their sights on the Team of the Eighties, the Four Horsemen. Austin, who as I found out during this project, was good at promos from day one, only really started to find his Stone Cold cadence during this feud. Before that, he'd have his chin up, almost speaking from an attitude of Royalty, where with the Blonds, he's just speaking as a tough son of a bitch. The chin is down, the neck is looser, and he's ready to outshit talk Ric Flair to his fucking face. This is the first time Stunning Steve Austin is essentially Stone Cold Steve Austin with hair.
This leads to a 2 out of 3 falls showdown between The Blonds and Flair/Anderson at Clash of the Champions 23 in June, and it is awesome.
I might splice a review in here at some point. Too tired at the moment.
The Hollywood Blonds go full circle, with Barry Windham joining forces with them. The feud would continue, with a six man tag with Windham, and a Hollywood Blonds defense against Double A, and newest Horsemen member Paul Roma, but Pillman would soon injure his ankle, and the Blonds angle would fizzle out. "They'd" lose the title after Regal would substitute for Pillman in a title defense (WCW pretaped new tag champions, so The Blonds had to lose the belts, with or without Pillman). In Pillman's absence, Austin would begin a singles push for the US Title, and by the time Pillman came back in October, WCW had no more plans for the Hollywood Blonds.
Austin has consistently claimed malice. The Hollywood Blonds were over, when they weren't supposed to be. They were an afterthought, thrown together, and they had become the hottest thing in the company. As we've seen countless times in wrestling, instead of being pleased with a happy accident, things get squashed so it never has to be admitted. The Hollywood Blonds officially break up October 30, 1993.
If breaking up something incredible wasn't bad enough, Austin and Pillman never even get a proper post-breakup feud. It gets booked as a comedy angle, with Pillman wanting to dress up Colonel Parker in a Chicken costume, more than get revenge on Austin. They rush the program into a match at Clash of the Champions two weeks later, without much build, where the two wrestle the shortest match on the card. They never wrestle a singles match on Pay Per View.
It's pretty mind blowing to me that The Hollywood Blonds were only together for a year. I can't really explain the impact they had in that year. They were in WCW, in a pretty dead period in wrestling, so it's not like it was close to anything either would do in the WWF, or the nWo would do three years later, but people who didn't like WCW, liked the Hollywood Blonds. It was transcendent on a reduced scale. WCW did good stuff, especially in those days, but WCW was rarely cool. The Hollywood Blonds were not only cool, they were cooler than anything the WWF was doing, which automatically made it the coolest thing happening in wrestling, period. It's like some things don't sell well, but they're cool, so they're better remembered in the long run. That was the Hollywood Blonds, but strangely, it was better remembered almost instantly. By 1995, you'd already be nostalgic about the Blonds. It was the only positive thing Austin name checked while lambasting WCW during his ECW promos, and everybody that was watching those promos was nodding their heads, going, "Hollywood Blonds, fuck yeah!" Hell, by 1996, the WWF built an entire program teasing Hollywood Blonds nostalgia.
For Austin, it was just more evidence that there was greatness. Each year in WCW so far has built on the last. 1991, one of the better rookie years ever, 1992, the breakout star of the coolest stable of the year, 1993, one half of the coolest thing in wrestling, holding his own against Ric F'n Flair. Despite fucking things up, WCW has built Austin on a steady upward trajectory. That would change drastically in 1994.
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