The highlight of the Bill Watts era for me was this show. It showed how wrestling and sports entertainment could be combined to put on a good show.
The most embarrassing thing that Jim Ross ever wore wasn't a toga, but the Hawaiian shirt, which he wore for this PPV. When you are dressed more flamboyantly than Jesse Ventura, you know you have overdone.
The PPV started out with Brian Pillman taking on Scotty Flamingo. Scotty Flamingo had a great run in the GWF as Scotty the Body but this match represented the downfall of the lightweight division in WCW. Rewatching the match, it was technically sound but lacking the excitement of the previous encounters between Liger and Pillman. The top rope rule greatly took away from the still healthy Pillman's ability to fly through the air an as very few did in America at that time. Bill Watts was very much like Baba in that he had a vision of what wrestling should but I still remember cringing when Flamingo won the title. Watts hammered home his anti-aerial viewpoint when Pillman did the job as a result of diving over the top rope and landed on his head on the ramp.
The next segment is the evening gown contest. To start off, Jesse Ventura questions Johnny B. Badd's sexuality, which is ironic, since Mero wound up married to a playmate. Missy Hyatt came out to a huge babyface pop in a white evening gown that showed her proportions well. Madusa followed Hyatte and came out in a much less revealing white wedding dress, which thankfully veiled her face.
The second match of the night was between Terry Taylor and Ron Simmons. Simmons was sporting his Jesse Jackson do while Taylor had a style which later on inspired Steven Segal. That was all that was interesting about this match because the crowd basically sat on its hands between Simmons comebacks . Taylor seemed to try awfully hard but wasn't able to carry Simmons as well as he could if he was a few years younger. Simmons won with the match with the powerslam.
The third match of the show was between Greg Valentine and the young up and coming superstar Marcus Alexander Bagwell. Little did I know I would still be hearing that same line eight years later. This Bagwell however was a hard worker and showed promise that he could be someone someday. He sold every move well for the aging veteran Greg Valentine who was on his last run in the big two. The match had very good psychology like most Valentine did with him building to the figure four throughout the match. Bagwell didn't have the stroke that he did in 2000 so he jobbed to Greg Valentine via figure four.
The fourth match was the legendary Falls Count Anywhere match between Sting and Cactus. A person watching this match today cannot understand the significance of this at the time. Cactus Jack taking on the World Champion Sting on PPV symbolized the consonant hard worker finally getting his chance to shine. Having become a wrestling fan in the Hogan era, this was the first time I recall having seen someone who bust his butt and be rewarded despite his look. This Sting was still motivated and full of energy, which made him hard not to like. The match itself was ahead of its time in the Austin 1997 main event style brawl with both men spending a great deal fighting outside of the ring. Despite a ringside crowd that seemed to consist mainly of elderly people visiting from the home, they were on their feet several times. Cactus Jack dropped some sick elbows onto the concrete and looked like he hurt his hip on a couple. Watts had removed the mats in order to promote realism and unfortunately he succeeded. Sting won with a top rope clothesline from the ring to the ramp in a high competitive matchup. If you are a fan of history, I would suggest rewatching or getting a copy of this match.
The fifth match was the complete opposite of the one that preceded it. For those who doubt the ability of Rick Rude as a worker, I point to this match as he crowning achievement. This match while somewhat rushed, was much better than the ironman match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania which received the accolades of WWF fans who voted it the best match in the history of Wrestlemania. Steamboat controlled the match early on but Rude made a strong comeback and went up two to one in a matter of minutes. He then went up to the top rope and dropped a top rope knee into Steamboat's chest which lead to a disqualification but he quickly pinned him to get another three to maintain his two decision lead. The psychology in match was very well done as Rude went to the chinlock several times in a prevent offense which burned time off of the clock. Steamboat did a great reversal of a piledriver to make up a fall to close the score to three to two. Steamboat continued with his persistence and close to the nine minute mark, Steamboat hit a backslide to make it a new match with just nine minutes left to go. Around the three and a half minute mark, Rude put on a sleeper which Steamboat tried to counter by ramming Rude's head into the turnbuckle several times but Rude held on and prevented his attempts. To those who think that the sleeper is an outdated rest hold, they should watch this match to see how it can be done effectively. Steamboat uses his legs as leverage to power Rude onto his back while fighting the sleeper to get the pinfall. With less than fifty seconds to go, Rude tries fast and furiously to secure one last decision but Steamboat is able to escape unscaved.
The next segment was the bikini contest between Missy Hyatt and Madusa. Madusa wore a black singlet which didn't reveal much which got booed by the crowd. Missy came out to a good pop in a blue bikini. Meltzer said that Hyatt had starved herself for days for this and it seems to have paid off.
The sixth match was a six-man tag between Nikita Koloff, Dustin Rhodes, and Barry Windham against Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, and Bobby Eaton with Ole Anderson as referee. During this match, Jim Ross criticizes the sports writers for blasting the top rope rule after Anderson almost forgot and went off the top. Nine years later, that doesn't seem as bad as plugging the XFL on a regular basis. When Anderson was in, he had the best sequences in this match and thankfully he was in for most of the match for his team. The crowd was however dead after the previous three segments of action and the match never seemed to come together. The main story of the match was Ole Anderson disqualified Arn Anderson after he came off the top rope and broke up Barry Windham's pinfall on Austin. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge they never went anywhere with that angle after that.
In the next segment, Eric Bischoff interviews Ricky Steamboat about his victory over Rude. Paul Heyman comes out and distracts Steamboat and Cactus Jack comes out and attacks him from behind.
The final installment of Madusa and Missy Hyatt was the tiny winny itsy bitsy bikini contest. Madusa came out in a revealing red, white, and blue bikini that featured her assets well. Missy's bikini fell out of the envelope so she stole Ventura's scarves and made herself her own makeshift bikini. Johnny B. Badd declared her the winner.
The last match of the night was the Steiner Brothers vs. Doc and Gordy. This was the best tag team feud that I have witnessed as it was going on. They had some incredibly stiff matches and the action in this series was top notch. This match, unfortunately, was disappointing, partially due to high expectations created by their previous matches and just a lackluster performance on this night. The match's opening wrestling sequences are fair but no where close to those in Angle and Benoit's WM match. It came off awkward because of their size and they couldn't establish a flow. The match consisted primarily of mat wrestling which Williams and Gordy didn't excel in because of their advancing years. The match did pick up towards the end into what people were expecting and the crowd finally started to come alive. The Steiners retain the title on a time limit draw that the crowd booed. It was lackluster finish to an otherwise great PPV.
Overall, this was my favorite PPV of the Watts era and in my top three favorite WCW PPVs of alltime. As a wrestling product, 1992 had some great action but Watts made some bad decisions, such as the top rope rule, which turned many fans against him. If you are an old WCW fan who is looking for something to watch now that your product is dead, I would recommend picking up this PPV and others from the Watts era. Watts had his faults but of all the people in charge of WCW, looking back he was probably the best to the pure wrestling fan and didn't make us suffer week in and week out with Hulk Hogan vs. Dungeon of Doom main events.