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[1991-07-14-WCW-Great American Bash] Lex Luger vs Barry Windham (Cage)


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  • 3 months later...

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone's discussion of the main event (they were stalling while the crew struggled with the cage) was the best thing on the show. Keep in mind that Jim Ross was PASSING A KIDNEY STONE during this show. Anyway, this conversation should have happened on TV as part of the hype, because it hit on every point that I thought was worth making.

 

Luger works hard and takes some big bumps in this, and Windham is game too, but the crowd just doesn't buy it. They want Flair, damnit, and nothing else matters. The crowd does eventually get into some of the nearfalls, and I do think this was a good match. Luger turns heel, which I don't think the crowd picks up on, when Harley Race shows up and distracts Barry Windham, leading to Luger winning by piledriver and taking the title. I don't know if a Luger turn was planned all along, or if this was just their attempt to salvage something from Flair's departure. Very strange that they wouldn't close the show with this.

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Windham didn't seem as motivated as Luger here. I got the feeling Luger wanted to have a great match. If Windham had responded with a strong PPV main event-calibre performance, I think the match would have hit that level. That's not to say Luger outworked Windham. But I do think Luger tried harder than Windham.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also enjoyed the pre-match analysis between Ross and Schiavone; made it feel more like a heavyweight title match. But the match itself carried no sense of bigness. They put together a few nifty sequences and none of the work was bad. They just didn't show much desperation or use the cage to add to the show. Luger's heel turn felt way understated. He finally won the belt after three years of chasing but had to embrace the dark side to do it. That should have been a huge moment. It wasn't.

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Schiavone has been on fire with the historical references tonight, both in the Rock 'n Roll Express match and in the pre-match here. Ross starts blabbing about Luger's background and a rogue technician cuts him off. "Barry Windam" on the pre-match graphic--oh, WCW. The opening to this is pretty bad, with a lot of slow resets and restarts that don't accomplish anything because this was a match with no build. It picks up, about when Windham performs a nifty counter to the torture rack, and when the match is just getting hot we get Race and Mr. Hughes appearing, and then one piledriver ends Luger's 3-year chase in incredibly anticlimactic fashion. Why didn't Luger piledrive him earlier, then? The Luger turn may have been more effective with Race or Hughes actively interfering, but since what little hype there was for this show basically promised a definitive conclusion inside of a cage, I guess they had to avoid killing the gimmick off entirely.

 

BruiserBrody's Windham shoot review suggests the turn was in fact last-minute--and a pre-PPV Observer indicates that Luger vs. Hughes was actually in the cards to main event Halloween Havoc. It certainly comes across that way. This match isn't terrible but the weak first half and ending prevent it from being truly good, and the fact that Luger only won the title after Flair was stripped of it does no favors to his Buffalo Bills reputation.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Crowd wants Flair. We get some close up shots of them screaming it. Thought match was good with Luger trying hard out there. Cage barely got involved though. They needed to have a great match to try to put Flair out of mind but the fans weren't having it. Ending was flat with Race and Hughes coming down to be in Luger's corner. They don't do anything though and Luger wins the belt.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

This felt like it had all the makings of an important and good match. Luger was motivated, the finish was an integral moment, and Luger/Windham match up well on paper. It just didn't come together with the crowd and the motivation of Windham. Really disappointing but fascinating match to watch.

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  • 9 months later...

This felt like it had all the makings of an important and good match. Luger was motivated, the finish was an integral moment, and Luger/Windham match up well on paper. It just didn't come together with the crowd and the motivation of Windham. Really disappointing but fascinating match to watch.

Three words say it all: We Want Flair!

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Crowd wants Flair. We get some close up shots of them screaming it. Thought match was good with Luger trying hard out there. Cage barely got involved though. They needed to have a great match to try to put Flair out of mind but the fans weren't having it. Ending was flat with Race and Hughes coming down to be in Luger's corner. They don't do anything though and Luger wins the belt.

How would you like to be Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, polishing the turd of this,card?

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Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone's discussion of the main event (they were stalling while the crew struggled with the cage) was the best thing on the show. Keep in mind that Jim Ross was PASSING A KIDNEY STONE during this show. Anyway, this conversation should have happened on TV as part of the hype, because it hit on every point that I thought was worth making.

 

Luger works hard and takes some big bumps in this, and Windham is game too, but the crowd just doesn't buy it. They want Flair, damnit, and nothing else matters. The crowd does eventually get into some of the nearfalls, and I do think this was a good match. Luger turns heel, which I don't think the crowd picks up on, when Harley Race shows up and distracts Barry Windham, leading to Luger winning by piledriver and taking the title. I don't know if a Luger turn was planned all along, or if this was just their attempt to salvage something from Flair's departure. Very strange that they wouldn't close the show with this.

Herd wated the title on luger for a while. Flair wanted to fo the job for windham, since flair left with the belt, it stands to reason windham gets left holding the bag and wcw gets luger as champ for a year. Wow!

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  • 10 months later...

This one was weird, to say the least.

 

It may be just me, but it seemed like neither Luger nor Windham knew quite how to work this match, since neither of them would be leaving the ring in the roles they came in. Luger couldn't play to the fans because of Harley and Hughes, while Barry couldn't be too heelish because he needed to be painted as the aggrieved party for future reference. Of course, the fans promptly popped for the Luger win anyway after basically sitting on their hands and daring both Luger and Windham to entertain them for most of the bout, so go figure. Even JR and Tony couldn't quite figure out how to articulate what they'd just seen, since if Luger had just turned heel, he'd done so on a heel. It made for a very awkward situation, needlessly so if you ask me. It's almost as if Dusty didn't quite know which way he wanted to go coming out of the bout and decided to at least temporarily keep the option open to maintain the status quo (Luger as face, Windham as heel), only to realize that if you're Lex Luger, Harley Race is your spokesman and Curtis Hughes is your bodyguard, you aren't going to get cheered no matter what you do.

 

Under the circumstances, these two worked as well as they could; this match was hardly innovative, but there were a few nice spots, including a tease of Luger stealing Windham's superplex. It seems like they decided to work a straight-up title match and worry about who cheered who later, which may have been a smart move considering that these fans weren't in the mood to cheer anybody It would have been a very good match under almost any other circumstances, but under these it just felt off. Maybe it's because I knew what was coming at the end.

 

Kudos to JR and Tony for a wonderful job in the booth. They really got this over as a titanic confrontation between two worthy athletes, which all the hype beforehand failed miserably to do. The history with Luger and Windham as both friends and foes was not only touched on, but explored in depth. So was the history of each man as a World title challenger; it was awkward to hear them practically tie themselves into knots to avoid mentioning Flair's name, but they managed to pull it off without looking ridiculous. By the way, the Horsemen are finally confirmed to be a dead group by JR, not that that's a bulletin or anything. JR and Tony also do a wonderful job comparing and contrasting each man's athletic background, and in a rare treat, we actually get to hear Blackjack Mulligan's name on WCW TV. Their only not-so-bright spot came after Harley and Hughes appeared at ringside, but that was perfectly understandable, as no one was supposed to know just what was going on there yet.

 

Was a double turn a wise thing to do under the circumstances? As I said in an earlier post, I think it was more about Dusty not knowing how to book a face champion (himself included) than anything else. Even so, there's no real evidence of a shift in philosophy on the part of either man; we'll see that in the weeks to come. Personally, I would have kept Luger face and aligned Barry with Harley and Hughes, but maybe Dusty still felt that Sting was the long-term future of the company and wanted him as top face. Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how what we've just seen plays out in the months ahead. I've heard good things about Harley as a mouthpiece, so maybe he can sell Luger's turn and get the fans against him as fully as they need to be in order to make a heel Luger title run work. Only time will tell.

 

Kudos to JR for working through his health issue; you would never have known it to hear him. Whether calling this card or passing the kidney stone was more painful, I'll leave others to judge.

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  • 7 months later...

I think a lot of the failure of this match is in the early stages. They work it slow, in a way that would be cool if the crowd was with them and into the drama - but the crowd is very not into this. If they came out fast and worked the whole match in a way that was more akin to the finish, they might have gotten the crowd back a bit quicker.

 

The strength of the pop for Luger, despite the shitty circumstances of the match, followed by immediately turning him heel, is classic WCW.

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  • 1 year later...

Good enough match for most circumstances, but not these. Maybe Barry was a little pissed about having to do the job here. I think they did pick it up a lot at the end and the crowd did respond to Luger winning. Not sure anybody in the audience cared about the whole Race/Hughes deal. And I'm not sure J.R. even knew that Hughes was no longer with the York Foundation. Way too much happening with no explanation.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-07-14-WCW-Great American Bash] Lex Luger vs Barry Windham (Cage)

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