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[1992-06-20-WCW-Beach Blast] Rick Rude vs Ricky Steamboat (30-Minute Ironman)

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This match has started to get some of the love it deserves in the last few years, but I still think it could stand to get more. This is a fantastic match. How good? Good enough that I would rank it ahead of Flair/Steamboat at Wrestle War '89. Probably not the Clash or Chi-Town, but ahead of Wrestle War for sure.

 

This wasn't a new gimmick, but this was really the first time it had been worked in front of a national audience. And while Bret/Shawn went twice as long, you really wish they had worked their match more like Rude and Steamboat worked this match. The pacing of the action between falls was strong, and both guys were willing to make the other look good, which is a must in a match like this.

 

It's interesting how the WCW audience has always popped so huge for the tombstone reversal. Through different eras in the company's history, that is one WCW constant. I also really liked the opening minutes of Steamboat targeting Rude's ribs. Rude giving up a fall by DQ by jumping off the top rope, only to gain the fall right back, is maybe one of my favorite things in any match ever.

 

The final few minutes with Rude taking Steamboat out slowly with the sleeperhold were incredibly dramatic, and the offensive flurry from Rude after Steamboat jumps up a fall is spectacular.

 

Tremendous match.

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This match has started to get some of the love it deserves in the last few years, but I still think it could stand to get more. This is a fantastic match. How good? Good enough that I would rank it ahead of Flair/Steamboat at Wrestle War '89. Probably not the Clash or Chi-Town, but ahead of Wrestle War for sure.

 

This wasn't a new gimmick, but this was really the first time it had been worked in front of a national audience. And while Bret/Shawn went twice as long, you really wish they had worked their match more like Rude and Steamboat worked this match. The pacing of the action between falls was strong, and both guys were willing to make the other look good, which is a must in a match like this.

 

It's interesting how the WCW audience has always popped so huge for the tombstone reversal. Through different eras in the company's history, that is one WCW constant. I also really liked the opening minutes of Steamboat targeting Rude's ribs. Rude giving up a fall by DQ by jumping off the top rope, only to gain the fall right back, is maybe one of my favorite things in any match ever.

 

The final few minutes with Rude taking Steamboat out slowly with the sleeperhold were incredibly dramatic, and the offensive flurry from Rude after Steamboat jumps up a fall is spectacular.

 

Tremendous match.

Only thing that hurts this match slightly to me is there are too many falls. How many times has Steamboat been pinned after 7 minutes, much less after taking only one move? This is the opposite of Bret/Shawn Iron Man, but where that match had too few falls, this has too many. I think they should have made this 2-1 or 3-2 instead.

 

I said in another thread that for the US, I have this right below War Games and Sting/Vader and on equal footing with about 8 other matches.

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I rated this the best match in WCW history for the Smarkschoice poll. The number of falls didn't bother me at all and in fact I think the fact that they got that many falls in believably is one of the reasons the match is so incredible.

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Funny, I think WrestleWar is the best of the Flair/Steamboat matches.

 

There's a whole lot to like about this match. The stupidity of the top rope DQ rule notwithstanding, the intentional DQ spot was so good that HHH recycled it in his iron man match. The way they worked the sleeper was awesome. And the ending was amazing. With that said, I do agree that the number of falls is excessive. I get that you wouldn't work an iron man match the same way you would a one-fall match. Still, Steamboat getting three pinfalls in twelve minutes is a bit much. Beyond that, I'm a lot more down on Steamboat in general than most people. He was great at so many things, but I never liked his offense, especially his lack of a credible finisher. I'm struggling to think of a single notable Steamboat match that ended in something other than a flash pin.

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When I went through the '92 WCW stuff last year, this wound up being my favourite match.

 

This is a straight up terrific match; maybe the best of a straight up terrific year. I can never really stick to one guy as my pick for the best in WCW over the course of '92, always going from Rude to Arn to Steamboat and back, but I had a feeling that watching this match for the first time in years would put Rude over the top... and I think it does. This isn't a Rude carry-job, or anything close to it, because Steamboat is Steamboat and he does what he does, but Rude's selling over the course of half an hour here is just spectacular and Rick Rude circa-1992 is definitely one of my favourite sellers of all time. Right at the bell Steamboat fucking wastes him with a rib breaker and from that point on Rude is off the charts great with the selling of the ribs. First 7-8 minutes are basically all Steamboat working the ribs. Steamboat's a guy that knows how to sell the ribs - match vs Tully from Starrcade '84 has Steamboat doing a rib sell job and it's one of my favourite sell jobs ever - and Rude no doubt knows this so he's all "fuck it, I'll sell these ribs like *I'm* Ricky Steamboat." He doesn't sell with the intention of getting sympathy like a babyface Steamboat would, obviously, but he hangs his arm down by his left side and takes these short breaths like he's working with a cracked rib. A lot of it is subtle, not Steamboat-like theatrical or anything, but even with 5 minutes to go you can tell he's not right. I love the spot where Rude will try his gyrating hips but can't manage it because of an injury. He does it against Dustin on that episode of Worldwide where his lower back is putty and he can't even stand up straight. He tries it here shortly after taking control but he can barely manage to straighten his body and buckles in pain. Later on he decides against that pose and just flexes his right bicep instead. He can barely lift his left arm above his head because the ribs are fucked, so he won't bother trying it. There's a ton of great little touches like that from Rude in this and it's awesome stuff. I'm a big fan of the first few falls here. They come in quick succession and didn't quite have the impact I remembered them having, but it's still a great sequence. The first fall is really abrupt, but Steamboat totally leans into getting kneed in the face and it comes off looking suitably nasty. It's basically the first time Rude's been able to do a single thing in the way of offence up to that point. Jesse on commentary makes the sport analogy, and as an Arsenal fan who's had to watch his fair share of games where they'll dominate a team and wind up conceding a goal from nowhere, I thought that first fall was a great "against the run of play" spot to give Rude the lead despite the opponent's pressure. Him coming off the top with a knee is another great spot. He knows he'll drop a fall via DQ, but he's willing to sacrifice one because he knows it'll work for him in the long run. Rude is a guy that's great at working at a snail's pace, and him just grinding Steamboat down because he has a comfortable advantage makes sense. He's got a pretty big bag of tricks when it comes to keeping lengthy holds interesting, too. The sleeper spot towards the end is one of the better extended sleeper spots I've seen, and that's in no small part due to Rude's effectiveness at keeping it interesting on his end. Rude's also a big fan of the spot where he and his opponent will fight over a Tombstone and we get a great one here. I've basically gone on about how good Rude is in this the whole time I've been talking about it, but Steamboat really is as good as you'd expect here as well. He's fired up when he needs to be, sells like you want him to sell, has a few awesome desperation spots, etc. There's a great moment where he's just tied the score and goes total Wrestlemania 3 on Rude, just bombarding him with quick roll-ups and pin attempts. This is basically everything I wanted it to be and held up as well as I was hoping. If the Steiners/MVC match is as good as I thought it was the last time I saw it then I'm about ready to tag Beach Blast '92 the best PPV ever.

I'm also with Loss in that I'd rank it ahead of the Flair/Steamboat WrestleWar match, but I'd probably go one step further and put it ahead of the Chi-Town Rumble match as well. I plan on watching that again at some point soon so I'll see how I feel after that. I'd still take the Clash match over it, though. Then again I might be one of the few guys left that still thinks that's a top 3 match in history.

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This is just great and both guys looked exhausted when this was over. I too thing the falls were too many. In the past it bothered me. Here it really didn't at all. Reading Meltzer's review of this bout and he seems like he really misses the boat on it.

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Rude giving up a fall by DQ by jumping off the top rope, only to gain the fall right back, is maybe one of my favorite things in any match ever.

Me too, absolutely.

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Only thing that hurts this match slightly to me is there are too many falls. How many times has Steamboat been pinned after 7 minutes, much less after taking only one move? This is the opposite of Bret/Shawn Iron Man, but where that match had too few falls, this has too many. I think they should have made this 2-1 or 3-2 instead.

Agreed. Great work, great selling, but the way the match was laid out with too many pins hurt the match a bit to me. I can't stand pinfalls that would just never happen in any other match happening in Iron Man or 2/3 falls. There's no way Steamboat gets pinned with the first and third falls in any kind of match, just no way, so it hurts the perception of the match to me. Especially since they got back at 3-3 anyway to work a great final stretch. Rude's selling is one of the best ever in a US match. The way they worked the sleeprhold and how it cost Rude the final fall is awesome, just like the way Rude goes into panic mode to get even when there's only 30 seconds left. Had this gone to 1-2 or even 2-3 with more credible pinfalls, this would be the MOTY without a doubt. As it is, nope. I'd have a hard time not considering it a great match though, but on the lesser side of great. MOTYC still, of course, who am I kidding, the work and the last ten minutes are just too good.

(the tope rope dq rule is complete retardation, especially when a top rope superplex is allowed. Watts was ridiculous with this).

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Great match but some of the falls did kind of bother me. Steamboat was dominating match early and then got pinned pretty easy by Rude after eight minutes. Just wasn't buying that one. He hits the Rude Awakening right after to go up two falls. I think they should have reversed those two pinfalls. Rude getting DQ but following up and getting the pin was a nice spot. I can understand breaks between pinfalls to allow time to regroup but they do a good job with continuing on each other and makes for a fast paced match. I didn't like Rude doing the sleeper at the end for the last couple minutes. Would have made more sense if he was up a fall but it was tied at that point. It ended up burning him as Steamboat picked up a fall and Rude had little time left to tie things up. I guess I can accept as an arrogant heel thinking he would win with the sleeper.

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Lots to like here, and while I may not have loved it as much as some others, I'm comfortable calling it the best iron man match I've seen. The work on Rude's ribs was better than any body part work in the Anderson/Windham SN match earlier in the month. Rude jumps out with a couple quick falls and then comes one of the highlights of the match with Rude sacrificing a fall via DQ to put Steamboat down and capitalize moments later to go up 3-1. This is how you tell a story. Steamboat's tombstone reversal for a fall was a great spot that the crowd loved. My favorite moment here was the closing sleeper, which the commentary put over as well. A classic spot and finish.

 

I hate when matches go long for the sake of going long. This did so in tune with a distinct story and interim goals long the way.

 

****1/4

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I didn't have a problem with the excessive falls--especially with Rude since he hurt his ribs right off the bat, which would affect anybody's endurance and which are sold and put over tremendously throughout the match. The only weak fall was Rude's first on Steamboat after getting his ass kicked for the first 8 minutes.

 

This match illustrates why I've rarely been a star-ratings guy. I think this about as good as WarGames, to be honest--and I had that rated at *****. And yet I wouldn't rate this a full five. I may have to go watch WarGames again, but right now this is the #1 WCW and by extension North America MOTY. The most focused body part work you'll ever see in a North American ring, just a smidgen of shtick from Rude but not too much, and one of the best-worked sleeperholds ever. Love Rude kicking Steamboat's arms away from the ropes and Randy Anderson (who incidentally was tremendous for this whole bout) checking on Steamboat's eyes. I never understood the kayfabe reason why this wasn't a title match, but it's a satisfying payoff to the Rude/Steamboat feud which was, judging by the action we saw and the Observer reaction to their house show series, North America's best from an in-ring standpoint for the first half of the year.

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This was excellent, and considering who was involved, that's not a surprise. But, I had a few problems with things. The big one was Steamer getting pinned early by the Rude Awakening, and then another later on not getting the job done, which seemed like it should have been done the other way. Another one was Steamboat kicking out the piledriver, despite Rude working the neck, but then Rude gets pinned with the Tombstone. But, things like that are the exception, not the rule.

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I just watched this again and I have to disagree with everyone on the number of falls. That's what made this match. They are getting over a new gimmick match and need to work in more falls (decisions is a better words, as not all of them are falls) to differentiate this from regular matches of the time.

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But, at the same time, this match isn't working in a vacuum -- it still carries a context of other conventional matches and, specifically, the impacts of moves made within those matches. I understand that it's desirable to distinguish this Iron Man match from standard matches by playing up the gimmick with multiple falls...but this match seems to use that as an excuse to work in an alternate universe where the typical impacts of moves can be abided by or discarded arbitrarily, whenever the narrative sees fit.

 

If Steamboat gets shined up for eight minutes in a conventional match and eats a desperation knee in the corner, he kicks out of the pin attempt because it's the first real dose of punishment he's taken the whole match. The next conventional match that ends that way for anyone, let alone Ricky Steamboat, will be the first one, I think.

 

When Steamboat eats that knee in this Iron Man match, though, he gets pinned because...why? To establish that any move can take a fall, even if that move is established as a desperation move at best in other matches? If that's the case, why is Steamboat kicking out of a piledriver over halfway through the match after Rude has been methodically working on his head and neck? To contrast Steamboat's toughness against Rude, who gives up a fall seconds later to a tombstone piledriver reversal? Ventura reads the situation perfectly and tries to sell Steamboat's execution as being the difference, but it still feels contrived to me.

 

Having said all of that, the actual ringwork in this match is tremendous. I'm not sure there's a match where Rude, in particular, looks better, especially during the final, panicked sprint. The intentional DQ spot is clever, if a bit silly -- if you're going to get DQ'd, why not waffle the guy with a chair (a la HHH/Rock years later)? -- and it miraculously lends some credence to Watts' ridiculous top-rope rule. The last ten minutes are an ideal way to end a long, drawn-out war; Steamboat gets a ray of hope from a backslide, which actually works and earns a fall because Rude is exhausted at this point, then launches into a sprint of pinning combinations to try and capitalize further. Rude cuts him off and tries to slow things down, eventually bringing the match to its most memorable moment: one of the best sleeper hold sequences I've ever seen, ending in a perfect callback to the work on Rude's ribs earlier on the match. And, finally, Rude's last run of desperate pin attempts

 

Ultimately, though, I just can't look past the layout of the match. Yes, it's on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the Hart/Michaels WM12 Iron Man match, but both matches feel equally contrived to me (albeit for totally different reasons). The numerous falls, shorter time limit, and considerably better commentary makes Steamboat/Rude a much easier watch but, structurally, I think I actually appreciate Hart/Michaels more because the overarching narrative that emerges from its contrivance -- a zero-sum stalemate that pushes into an unthinkable overtime -- seems more consonant with the face/face dynamic where both guys are just too resilient to give in. Hart/Michaels may seem slow compared to this, but it never seems dissonant to me like the first and (to a lesser extent) third falls for Rude, where the babyface with a heart of a champion coughs up falls to a flying knee drop and Rude's first move of the match.

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Complaining about the multiple falls as being illogical is illogical in itself. There's such a thing as exhaustion and another thing known as pain. The more damage is done to your body the more pain you feel. So while someone gently tapping you on the shoulder might not normally hurt, it could actually be very painful after you were bashed in the shoulder with a baseball bat or shot with a gun. Exhaustion is similar. It has to do with your stamina. A jumping jack is very easy for most people to do. BUT, whenever you've done like a thousand of them then one single jumping jack is going to take a lot more effort than it normally would. Over time your body heals itself though, but in the moment after you've already been hurt enough to go down for a 3-count your body is really suffering and you're less likely to be able to withstand what you normally would.

 

Complaining about a wrestler getting pinned after being hit with one move is ludicrous too. They're putting over the seriousness the encounter and that one misstep can mean the end. If you're unable to follow this match or buy into it because of its "unbelievabilty", then I don't see why you'd bother with wrestling in general.

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I like to see the occasional grueller with both guys sweating buckets. Immediately Rude had his ribs damaged as Steamboat controlled the early stages. But then he got cocked and soon found himself 3-1 down. The absence of a recovery period between falls had a big bearing compared with other multi-fall matches. Whilst I agree that there were too many falls overall, this aspect of the match made it come off as more realistic than it might have done. Rude was generally in control for 20m. Yet falls against the head so to speak, were a recurrent theme and Boat pulled it back to 3-3. It seemed like the Ravishing one was about to KO his rival, but he got flashed and couldn't then level the scores in an exciting final minute. It was a hard physical effort. Whilst pleasing to see, the quality of the action at times suffered because of it. Structurally they could've gone any number of ways. It was fairly good in that regard. The storytelling remained excellent and the rivalry was superb. A commendable effort.

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On that first fall for Rude, he did hook the tights rather gratuitously when he rolled Steamer up after the big knee. Think of it like a fighter getting rocked with a punch and a quick follow-up working to KO him. For that moment he's vulnerable because he just got knocked silly. Rude following up with the Awakening and then the top rope move (agreed that it is a stupid rule) to net himself another pin is a great bit of opportunism, as well as a gamble paying off. One thing I loved about the way it played out after Steamboat's flurry of roll-ups up to the sleeper reversal was that it was a reversed carbon copy of the opening of the match. First Steamer takes 8 minutes to destroy Rude's ribs only for Rude to turn the tides unexpectedly. Now Steamboat does the same after it looks like Rude has him beat, using the very thing he injured in the first place. Such a great bit of storytelling there.

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First fall: I love the sign from one fan telling Rude to "Put it on! Put it all on!"

 

I'm not sure that JR liked Jesse reminding him of how out of shape he was. Then again, with these two it's hard to tell what's normal announcer byplay and what's a product of JR's resentment of Jesse's money.

 

Now we get Bonnie and Richie? Where were they during the part of the angle that was actually about them?

 

Steamer using Richie as a distraction of sorts is certainly unlike him. Then again, that's how far Rude's pushed him over the last few months; he's willing to go to any lengths to beat Rude and do so badly, even if he won't get the belt. Speaking of which. why the hell is this non-title?

 

Steamer's work on the ribs is about as vicious as it ever gets when it comes to body part work. Kudos to Rude for withstanding the attack like he did. JR puts over how Rude's injured ribs are restricting his oxygen flow and making him sweat profusely early in the match, which is something not many announcers would think of.

 

What is that bow-and-arrow style submission hold Steamer had Rude in? I don't recall seeing it before, either here or anywhere else.

 

Rude gets the pin when Steamer charges into his knee to the face in the corner, which is hardly standard but understandable in a match like this, where it's going multiple falls and a move like the Rude Awakening can only be used credibly once or twice at the most. JR claims a handful of tights, but I didn't see it. Rude 1, Steamer 0 at 22:18.

 

Second fall: Rude nails Steamer with a few more knees, then hits the Rude Awakening in slow motion to take a 2-0 lead at 21:15. JR speculates that Rude might have hurt his ribs further in the process.

 

I'm not sure JR knew what to make of Jesse's hockey analogy, being an Oklahoman.

 

Third fall: After a few more blows, Rude goes to the top and hits a knee to the chest, which is of course an automatic DQ. Rude 2, Steamer 1 at 20:18. Put me in the camp that says it's good strategy if it leads to another quick pin.

 

Fourth fall: Rude's strategy works, as he wraps Steamer up with a small package to take a 3-1 lead at 19:48.

 

Fifth fall: Rude spends most of this fall wearing Steamer down with chinlocks, which is this type of match is extremely smart because it's a way to run the clock out, as Jesse points out. Rude also targets the neck with a swinging neckbreaker and a regulation piledriver, but gets a tombstone reversed on him, which leads to Steamer taking the fall. The main reason for the big pop this got was that Rude had worked over Steamer's back for most of the fall, even at the expense of more damage to his own ribs, which he continues to sell beautifully in what could be the Sell Job of the Year so far. Rude 3, Steamer 2 at 12:19.

 

Interesting that there's no overtime scheduled in this, probably because MVC-Steiners was scheduled to go thirty right afterward.

 

Sixth fall: I didn't know that moves executed with both men on the top are still legal, as we see when Steamer hits the superplex that starts the fall. Then again, with Windham still using the superplex as a finisher, it makes a kind of sense.

 

Interesting sequence leading to the winning fall, as Steamer bridges out of a Rude pin attempt, then backslides him for the pin. We're tied at three with 9:35 remaining.

 

Did Jesse really not know the name of the tombstone piledriver, or was he just trying to avoid mentioning the finisher of a prominent member of the competition's roster by name?

 

Seventh fall: Nice pin attempt spree to start the fall by Steamer, reminiscent of the Mania III classic with Savage.

 

I love Rude posing with just one arm when he had Steamer down. Never let it be said that Rude forgets his character, even in the midst of a war like this.

 

Nice callback to Steamer's broken nose with Rude ramming his face into the mat. JR and Jesse even speculate that Rude might have broken it again.

 

Brilliant spot with Steamer hitting the Rude Awakening, but not getting the fall because Rude makes the ropes. The move's still protected, but Steamer gets over as someone who will always do what it takes to survive, including using his opponent's finisher against him.

 

The sleeper spot was beautifully done, right down to Randy Anderson checking the eyes along with the arm, which I've never seen before but makes perfect sense. The hold was probably applied a bit too early, though, as no one's supposed to be able to stand it for over three minutes like Steamer does here. The pin comes when he kicks off the turnbuckle, trapping Rude underneath him for three to take a 4-3 lead with just thirty-five seconds remaining, Rude's last flurry doesn't force the tie, and Steamer gets the win, four falls to three.

 

If anyone on earth looks horrible wearing a Hawaiian shirt, it's JR.

 

This was a tremendous match in which each man worked as hard as I've ever seen. There was no down time; something was happening every second. But as usual with WCW, booking got in the way. This should have led to a US title match at the Bash with Steamer going over, either in an Ironman rematch or a regular bout. Instead, Doc and Bamm Bamm's coronation took up the bulk of the card, and by the September Clash (WCW's next big card), the moment had passed. As good as this was, it would have been better with the belt on the line, especially since Nikita-Rude went nowhere and Steamer ended up taking a big step down to feud with Cactus Jack.

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http://placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-100-51/2/

 

#55

 

Most everything has been discussed, but I'll add that I think this is one of the best matches I've ever seen. It's between this and War Games 1992 for WCW MOTD for me. Like some, I'd even put this over Flair/Steamboat @ WrestleWar, but not over Clash 6 or Chi-Town. Off the top of my head ... it's top 5 or 6 NWA/JCP/WCW (ever) for me... I'd have to think about it.

 

*****

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WCW US Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude vs Ricky Steamboat - Beach Blast 1992 Ironman Match

You know what always surprises me about this match is how it is never touted as the first Ironman match ever. It is, right? Like I cant think of anything before. That's a big deal and no one talks about that. This really shows the difference between WCW and WWF. WWF would be putting this new gimmick over huge. You listen to Jim Ross call this match you would think Ironman matches are a weekly occurrence. There is no discussion about how the strategy of this match differs from a routine one fall match. Honestly, I am starting to believe even Michael Cole is better than Jim Ross.

First Fall: Tremendous textbook execution of elementary pro wrestling. I don't think doing the obvious things right is lauded enough. It could have been so easy for Steamboat to lose focus or Rude to blow off selling. This match is exemplary it is commitment to body part psychology. Rude tries to jump Steamboat at the bell and pays for it with a gutbuster. The way Rude sells his ribs you know this is not a register, but that he is seriously hurt. Steamboat zeroes in on them. We do not think of Steamboat as a great on top worker, but he was phenomenal here. Great creative moves that incorporate movement, charging shoulder, throwing Rude into a belly flop and holds like bearhug and Boston Crab. I loved the splash after the Boston Crab. It was a team effort as Rude was really giving one of the best sell jobs ever. It was never sympathetic either. You wanted to see Steamboat pour it on. That's tough for a heel. I loved the finish with the flash knee. You ram your head into someone's hard ass knee that sure as heel can knock you out for three. Great finish. Steamboat gets his shine, we have a thread to weave the falls together, but somehow by luck the heel gets a quick pin and the babyface is in an early hole. That's great pro wrestling.  

Second Fall: Jesse has a tremendous hockey analogy. Steamboat is like the team that has had ten shots on goal, but nothing to show for it. While Rude's first shot when in. I loved the balance between urgency and pain from Rude. Rude Awakening as he fights through the pain for the second fall. This is a lot better than I remembered and I already remembered it as a classic.

Third Fall: Rude hits a backbreaker. Jesse says Rude should tie up Steamboat and run the clock out. Rude does the exact opposite and hits a flying knee drop. Perfect. He gets DQ'd but Jesse & JR knows what he is doing.

Fourth Fall: Rude gets his fall back with an inside cradle. JR & Jesse think after that Bombs Away Knee Drop that the Dragon is toast.

Fifth Fall: This match is a competition of who can sell the ribs better. This match should be shown to every aspiring wrestler because it really shows the nuanced differences between how a babyface and heel should sell a body part injury. It is hard to articulate, but watch how Steamboat sells the ribs how much more sympathy garners in you as a viewer and how much more you want him to make that comeback. We see some flickers of fire from the Dragon as he tries to attack the ribs of Rude, he hits some wicked chops and even gets the Electric Chair Drop (a Rude bump favorite), but at each turn Rude snuffs out the comeback whether with his favorite camel clutch or knees to the midsection on a splash. The finish to this fall is riveting. Rude gets a wicked piledriver, but only two. He goes for the tombstone, but they do that trademark WCW tombstone reversal spot and it is Steamboat who nails it to get his second decision. It is a nailbiter with 12 minutes to go!

Sixth Fall: A superplex and a double clothesline are great spots to put over the grueling contest and the eveness around the ten minute mark. Steamboat gets a backslide for a three count. It is all knotted up with ten minutes to go. You gotta believe next fall wins!

Seventh Fall: Steamboat goes for pinning combination barrage. It is hot and heavy! Rude slows him down with a jawbreaker. Taunting and posing with one arm because his left side hurts so bad. Rude is thinking Rude Awakening, but Steamboat steals his finish, foot on the ropes! Great nearfall. Steamboat builds momentum only for Rude grabs a sleeper. They milk this bad boy. Great selling by Steamboat and great job by Randy Pee Wee Anderson checking Steamboat's eyes. Steamboat hulks up and kicks off the buckles to get a pin!

Eighth Fall: Rude is besides himself. Electric 30 seconds as Rude keeps bowling Steamboat over four times and each time Steamboat kicks out. No decision rendered as time expires. Steamboat wins 4-3!

Small detail is I would have Rude get three of those nearfalls, but with about 10 seconds left have Steamboat get the last offensive move a chop and send Rude on his back as the bell rings. You want your babyface victor to be standing tall at the end of the match. Not on his back. It is a small detail, but I think the match a lost a little something because of that. I have seen this a bunch and already had my star rating in my head of ****3/4, but they really impressed me and I am going the full monty *****. I think it was a combination of tremendous selling from both men, great pacing throughout, and a ton of well-built drama. It is easy to lose your attention in 30 minutes but they had me the whole time. At worst, a top five WCW match of the 1990s. It could be the best, Sting vs Vader and Eddie vs Mysterio are the other contenders. I will have to mull this over.  

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