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Steve Austin v Brian Pillman


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Steve Austin v Brian Pillman - 11/10/93 (WCW)


It's the Battle of the Blondes! I put an exclamation point on that sentence, which would normally imply excitement over that, but I was a huge fan of the team at the time, and was actually disappointed over the breakup. Jesse Ventura echoed my sentiments nicely in this match, saying it broke his heart to see it happen and he wished they could just shake hands and forget about it all. That wasn't to be, as they immediately went into a brawl. Pillman chased manager Col. Rob Parker around the ring, which gave Austin an opening to sneak in a clothesline and toss Pillman back in the ring. He realizes he's in trouble so he offers a handshake, which is actually a total dickwad heel tactic considering that he's the one who sold his partner up the river. Pillman will have none of it and spits in his face! Wow. They brawl out to the elevated ramp that WCW used in the early 90s, where Austin attempts a piledriver, but it gets reversed. Pillman goes up top, with the intent of splashing Austin outside the ring, but misses, and Austin throws him off the ramp face-first into the guardrail. That's actually a hellacious bump that always looked good when he did it.


Austin returns to the ring, which is where he keeps trying to keep this match, and Pillman is entering as well on the apron. Austin charges toward him, but Pillman stops him with a slingshot crossbody. They fight some more, and Austin catches him with a stun gun to take control. Pillman tries everything to come back, including gouging Austin's eyes, and chopping the hell out of Austin's chest, but Steve is relentless at this point. He applies a single leg crab, holding the ropes, which the ref almost catches twice and finally catches after looking up for the third time. Whenever Pillman is vertical, Austin is disadvantaged, as he Irish whips Brian to the corner and Pillman climbs to the middle rope and falls back with an elbow. He gets a two-count off of it and Austin tries to come back again by coming off the top rope, but he gets crotched. Pillman tries a superplex, but Austin reverses it in a *nice* spot. We then get an even better highspot with Austin trying to follow him down by jumping off the top rope to get him, but Pillman catching him with a dropkick mid-air. That move took great timing on the part of both guys, and they pulled it off flawlessly.


Now, Pillman appears to finally have Austin where he wants him, where he can begin to exact revenge. Austin catches him off the ropes with an elbow, though, and he tries another piledriver, but this time, Pillman reverses it to a huracanrana for a very good nearfall. They both brought all of the offense they had to this one, and left absolutely nothing behind. Pillman tries to capitalize on his momentum by trying the slingshot crossbody again, but he gets caught with a powerslam for an even better nearfall. Austin misses a vegamatic after taking control, which Pillman counters with a DDT and now the audience is seriously into this, as Austin kicks out yet again. Pillman dusts off his flying crucifix, which sees Austin drop him on his back as a counter. He goes up top, but he misses a splash, which gives Pillman a chance to Oklahoma Roll him into the best false finish of the match.


The finish is a little cheap, but with the post-match brawl, it also keeps the door open to rematches, rematches that would never happen. Breaking up the Blonds was a bad idea in the first place, and not even letting them have a long feud afterward was an even worse idea. They both floundered without each other. Pillman would never reach that level again. Austin's best days were thought to be behind him about a year later. There was no blood here, which is fine because it's TV, but a Starrcade gimmick match with both tapping an artery was certainly in order. The one glaring flaw the match had was that neither guy could sustain control for any amount of time. It got to be very "My turn, your turn" toward the end, so the only momentum they had was through the hot moves, which in this case worked, believe it or not. In fact, the layout of this match is much more like a WCW cruiserweight match of the late 90s than a WCW heavyweight match of the early 90s. Still, this plays like the first chapter in what's intended to be a long feud, and this wasn't intended to be a long feud obviously; it was intended to bury them both under the pretense of pushing Austin as a singles star.



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