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[1992-02-15-WCW-Pro] Rick Rude vs Brian Pillman


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  • 4 weeks later...

This is a master's class in what a main event heel versus upper midcarder match should be. Rude sold a lot for Pillman -- his knee selling was really strong -- and gave Pillman some great close calls, but in the end, he won cleanly. Awesome.

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I'm in agreement with everybody else; this is such a bossy little match. I said this about it last year (and I liked it even more when I watched it again a couple months ago):

 

Pretty excellent performance from Rude here. Pillman as the fired up babyface that isn't afraid to take risks is as good as always, but Rude had more or less perfected a hierarchy match formula in '92 (look at the Dustin match from Worldwide), and he carried this like a total pro. He starts out sort of toying with Pillman, offering a handshake, strutting around like he's expecting a walk in the park; imagine the shredded wide receiver in high school fucking with the captain of the debate club before he kicks his ass (or so he thinks, anyway). Rude has swagger and incredible tights. Pillman has a curly mullet and tiger panties. No sweat. He cranks on a side headlock at one point and there's a close up of him with a huge grin on his face; "I've got this in the bag." Then Pillman grabs a leg and just goes to town on it, wrapping it around the ring post, dropping elbows and stomps, and Rude, excuse the pun, wakes the fuck up and realises he's got a fight on his hand. Rude's selling all the way through is fantastic, always limping and showing damage, hitting a running Pillman with a knee to the gut and selling his own leg as much as Pillman is selling his ribs. He lets Pillman look great down the stretch, giving him a phantom pinfall and eating all of his offence like a trooper. There's a great moment where Rude tries to hit the Rude Awakening and Pillman just scrambles furiously to the ropes, practically jumping out of the ring to escape it. Finish is great too, with Pillman flying around once too often and getting caught with a nasty Stun Gun. Can't get away from the next Rude Awakening. My mind changes daily for who I'd pick as the best guy in WCW in 1992, but this is the kind of match that has me leaning towards Rude.

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I don't think it's much a point of contention that Rude hit his career peak in 1992. What I think could be an interesting debate is who had the best year between Rude, Steamboat, Sting, Vader and other guys who had an excellent year. There's no right or wrong answer, but hearing the logic behind it would be cool.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

Rude is really at his best at this point like it's been said. Great selling, does comedy yet keeps his asskicker aura, bumps like a king, delivers some cool offense on occasion, and generally rock solid. Pillman really looks like he deserves better than the useless LHW belt, although it allows him to work with Liger on PPV which is nice. But the guy has been one of the best worker in the company since 1989 at this point, and years of wallowing in the undercard damaged his star power potential. Here he shows he could hang on with the top of the card. Sadly nobody will really ever care. He should be along Dustin, Steamboat, Barry, Simmons. Instead, we'll get Nikita Koloff coming back as a face after a very poor stint the previous year... Anyway, very good match.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 5 months later...

Man was this great. Loss & Dylan basically hit on what was so fantastic -- you've got your standard Rude promo before the match that never fails to deliver, Heyman holding the belt high like he would for Punk 20 years later, though with one hand this time as he also has to carry his next gen cell.

 

Pillman holds up his end of the bargain in the match, dropkicking Rude as he comes off the top, blocking the Rude Awakening and generally playing the role of upstart babyface bringing it to a main event heel to perfection. Would've loved a PPV match from these 2, but for they really make the most out of the time allotted.

 

***

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Guest TheGreatPuma

This is just a dandy of a match and a favorite of my earlier years. I was always a big fan of these two guys. I was checking out Brian Pillman vs Cactus Jack Manson which I believe was Jack's second match in WCW for the first time ever and it was even better than I thought it'd be. I was expetcing it to be a definite thumbs up match too. A super all out energetic sprint much worth checking out.

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  • 4 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Pete, I don't actually find fault with WCW's booking of Pillman until 1991. The Luger series was a great way to be introduced as plucky, upstart underdog that can hang with the big boys, but not there yet. The Zenk tag team was a good idea on paper to have gain some experience work with the Birds and MX, but the start-stop push hindered that team. Dusty did a great job positioning as a rising star at Wargames '91 and against Windham. I think the Yellow Dog angle was genius. It was a great mid-card angle and the bounty made every match mean something. Yellow Dog vs Windham or Arn would have been a great blowoff, but instead they drop the angle and he is pushed as the star of the DOA Light Heavyweight Division. Talk of being fucked. He had to be turned heel as a Blond to resuscitate his career. I think when they decided to split the Blonds is when he needed to win a singles title. Austin seemingly was going to be pushed so I don't fault them for keeping the title on him. As good as Regal is, I think if someone wanted to point to a time when Pillman should have won a singles title that was the only time that made sense.

 

WCW US Champion Rick Rude w/Paul E. vs WCW Light Heavyweight Champion Brian Pillman - WCW Pro 2/15/92

 

Rick Rude was untouchable in this timeframe as a main event heel. His in-ring work finally caught up to his commanding presence and great character work. Much like the Arn match with Dustin, Rude makes everyone out to be winner by selling his knee like a million bucks. By making Pillman look that good, it made the victory mean that much more and made the match one of the best of this angle. I am a mark for a good drop toe hold especially when it is chained into a hold so Pillman gave me the double whammy and then Rude sold his ass off to make it the hook of the match. Little things like Rude hitting a kneelift with the wrong leg preventing him from capitalizing so he ends up getting that knee wrapped around the post. Or as Rude is working over Pillman's back with slams and a bearhug how Pillman will try to throw shots at the knee. This does not reach the level of Pillman's famous TV matches with Flair because Pillman just does not seem as fiesty and violent as he did in those matches. His comeback featured only two overhand chops, we need more violence. Rude kicks out Air Pillman surprisingly and escapes to the outside, but Pillman wont let him breathe and dives onto him. When Pillman looks to leap off top again, Rude catches him with the Stun Gun and a Rude Awakening is all she wrote. Rude looked like the next main event WCW cash cow in this match. He is different from Flair enough, but still fills the void Flair left in having great TV bouts with babyfaces. If he stayed healthy, the sky was the limit (well with WCW's promotional capabilities who knows, but still). Pillman did not look like the cant miss star like he did in early '91 facing Flair and Windham. I would need to watch more, but it looks like the Light Heavyweight Champion "promotion" may have sapped his zeal. This is a great showcase for how good Rick Rude was at this point. ***1/2

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  • 1 year later...

WCW is cranking out good to great sub-10:00 matches on a regular basis in this period. Fantastic detail work here. The only thing I like more than a move resulting in visible damage to the attacker's bad limb is when the attacker is smart enough to use the good limb next time, like Rude's gut knees.

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  • 3 months later...

There's not much else to say that hasn't been said already. This match puts both guys over, and Rude's selling of his injured knee may be the best I've seen yet from him. What I liked best about it was that Heyman's interference didn't lead to the pin; while it certainly cheated Pillman out of a possible win, Rude earned the win himself with the Stun Gun and the Rude Awakening. While Heyman may be the evil genius behind the DA, they (almost) always win matches on their own merit when push comes to shove, which not even the Horsemen could claim.

 

Excellent discussion by JR of the strategy in the weeks leading up to Steamer-Rude at SuperBrawl; how each man could be in danger from their various opponents, and how Steamboat in particular has a target on himself everywhere he goes. I loved JR's call in this match; no shilling, all kinds of great strategic info, and wonderful storytelling. He didn't even shoehorn in any references to Pillman's football career, and those of us who are longtime viewers didn't miss them a bit, believe me.

 

I thought Pillman was motivated here; he didn't have as much energy as he did against Flair, but there was always a personal issue of some sort between the two of them, whereas this match was more or less just a match, although a very good one.

 

By the way, was the US belt on the line? The disc cut off the first part of Gary's ring announcements.

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  • 2 years later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1992-02-15-WCW-Pro] Rick Rude vs Brian Pillman

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