Running Time: 437mins (7hrs 17mins)
- Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair v Ronnie Garvin – Starrcade (November 26th, 1987)
- United States Championship Match: Barry Windham v Dusty Rhodes – Great American Bash (July 10th, 1988)
- Tag Team Championship Match: The Road Warriors v Sting & Dusty Rhodes – Starrcade (December 26th, 1988)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair v Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Chi-Town Rumble (February 20th, 1989)
- United States Championship Match: Lex Luger v Brian Pillman – Halloween Havoc (October 28th, 1989)
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair v Sting – Great American Bash (July 7th, 1990)
- Steel Cage Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Lex Luger v Barry Windham – Great American Bash (July 14th, 1991)
- Light Heavyweight Championship Match: Jushin “Thunder” Liger v Brian Pillman – SuperBrawl (February 29th, 1992)
- War Games: Sting’s Squadron v The Dangerous Alliance – WrestleWar (May 17th, 1992)
- Texas Death Match: Vader v Cactus Jack – Halloween Havoc (October 24th, 1993)
- United States Championship Match: “Stunning” Steve Austin v Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Bash at the Beach (July 17th, 1994)
- Steel Cage Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship (Special Guest Referee – Mr. T): Hulk Hogan v Ric Flair – Halloween Havoc (October 23rd, 1994)
- Kevin Nash & Scott Hall v Sting, Lex Luger & “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Bash at the Beach (July 7th, 1996)
- No Disqualification Match: Diamond Dallas Page v “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Spring Stampede (April 6th, 1997)
- Mask v Cruiserweight Championship Match: Eddie Guerrero v Rey Mysterio – Halloween Havoc (October 26th, 1997)
- Special Guest Referee – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: Bret “Hitman” Hart v “Macho Man” Randy Savage – (Slamboree – May 17th, 1998)
- Cruiserweight Championship Match (Special Guest Referee – Dean Malenko): Chris Jericho v Juventud Guerrera – Road Wild (August 8th, 1998)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Goldberg v Diamond Dallas Page – Halloween Havoc (October 25th, 1998)
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Jeff Jarrett v Booker T – Bash at the Beach (July 9th, 2000)
- #1 Contenders Ladder Match for the Cruiserweight Championship: 3 Count v Jamie Knoble & Evan Karagias v The Jung Dragons – Starrcade (December 26th, 2000)
- Falls Count Anywhere Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Scott Steiner v Diamond Dallas Page – Greed (March 18th, 2001)
WCW has not had the depth of post-demise releases that the seemingly more beloved ECW, which is a shame when you consider the wealth of archive footage WWE has at its disposal. Even when there has been similar content (both promotions had a “Rise and Fall” retrospective), WCW’s seemed to be a bit more bitter and acidic that the Paul Heyman-led counterpart.
In the last 18 months though, WWE seems to be getting on the WCW bandwagon with the War Games compilation and the two Best of Nitro sets showcasing the best the Atlanta-based group had to offer on TV. The logical progression from there is to turn the focus to the best WCW produced on PPV and this three-disc set, hosted by Booker T, is the perfect way to get the ball rolling.
As this is listed as “Volume 1”, there will of course be some matches that belong on a set chronicling WCW’s best PPV outings, but will need to be kept for future releases. That being said, there really is a great history lesson across the three discs as we see the promotion evolve across various eras (the NWA era in the 80s, the rise of Sting, etc in the 90s, the Outsiders / nWo run) and then devolve once WCW ran out of ideas and trusted Vince Russo to steer the ship, only for him to steer them from one disaster to another until the company failed entirely and was bought by Vince McMahon.
There will be a lot of wrestlers on here that WWE fans will know about, but will have never seen in their prime. For those fans, they are in for a treat. Not only that, some of the early bouts are commented on by Jim Ross who even back then made almost everything seem like the most important event in wrestling history.
Starting out with a Steel Cage Match pitting NWA Champion Ronnie Garvin v Ric Flair, we run through great bouts featuring Barry Windham (who was just amazing at his peak), The Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, Sting, Cactus Jack, Vader, Lex Luger, Brian Pillman, Jushin Liger, Ron Simmons, “Stunning” Steve Austin, Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Rick Rude, Nikita Koloff and Paul Heyman until we reach the Bash at the Beach 1996… and everything changes.
One era ends and the creative and commercial peak for modern pro-wrestling was about to get under way as The Outsiders (Kevin Nash & Scott Hall) – recent invaders from WWE – took on WCW’s heroic saviours in the three-man team of Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage (all in Sting’s surfer-style face-paint) to repel the invaders… and their promised, but hitherto unseen, third man. Everyone should know by now how this story ends, but if you haven’t actually seen it, you really owe it to yourself to see the Hulk Hogan heel turn and try to get a feel for the genuine shock inside the arena.
The old WCW was dead and the fabled Monday Night Wars were on. It was also around this point that WCW really began to highlight the Cruiserweight Division and the smaller guys took advantage of the opportunity. Guys like Dean |Malenko, Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero among a host of other imports from Mexico and Japan revolutionised the idea of what a professional wrestler could be.
Alongside that, there were great feuds like DDP v Randy Savage, the rise of Goldberg, the rise of Booker T, the evolution of Chris Jericho into what would become Y2J and a fantastic action across the board as WCW reached its peak of greatness.
The Goldberg v DDP match is interesting because it was one of the few non-squashes that he worked during his undefeated streak. It’s also interesting to note that it didn’t actually air on the PPV itself because WCW neglected to tell the cable companies that the show would run long (3.5hrs as opposed to the standard 3hrs). Due to this, most fans didn’t get to see the bout and it instead aired on Nitro in an act of appeasement.
While WCW started to falter after the nWo had ran its course (despite repeated failed rehashes), there were still some gems to be found and nowhere is this more apparent that the 3-Way Ladder Match between The Jung Dragons, 3 Count and Jamie Knoble / Evan Karagias.
Even though it was obviously capitalising on the three-way tag-team feud between Edge & Christian, The Dudleys and The Hardys, the three teams in this bout went above and beyond to make their own mark and it’s still brought up whenever people talk about the top matches in WCW’s dying days.
All in all, this is a great look at WCW’s pay-per-view past and really whets the appetite for future volumes. Not all the matches are A+, but most are. The first disc is relatively priceless in the quality on show from WCW’s late-80s heyday, while discs 2 and 3 also have some wonderful in-ring action.
For me, the top five matches are (in no order) -:
- DDP v Goldberg
- Sting’s Squadron v The Dangerous Alliance
- Cactus Jack v Vader
- Eddie Guerrero v Rey Mysterio
- Barry Windham v Dusty Rhodes
In addition, the Hogan heel-turn is still mesmerising, but the lack of “Crow”era Sting is surprising. Of course, there is always Volume 2 for that.
The set I reviewed was the DVD edition, but I feel it’s only fair to mention that if you buy the Blu-Ray version, you get the following additional content -:
- Thunderdome Match (Special Guest Referee – Bruno Sammartino): Ric Flair & Sting v Terry Funk & The Great Muta – Halloween Havoc (October 28th, 1989)
- Jean Paul Levesque v Alex Wright – Starrcade (December 27th, 1994)
- “Macho Man” Randy Savage v Dennis Rodman – Road Wild (August 14th, 1999)
- Special Guest Referee – Eric Bischoff: Hulk Hogan v Billy Kidman – Slamboree (May 7th, 2000)