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Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Larry Zbyszko & Sid Vicious vs Sting, Brian Pillman, Rick & Scott Steiner (WCW Wrestle War 02/24/91, War Games)

WCW Wrestle War February 24 1991 Ric Flair Barry Windham Larry Zbyszko Sid Sting Brian Pillman Rick Steiner Scott Steiner Steiners Four Horsemen Flair vs Sting Phoenix War Games Cage Match 4.5*

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#1 Loss

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:26 AM

Talk about it here.

#2 Loss

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

This looks just as great as it always has. Pillman's performance in particular is one for the ages. I don't think this is quite at the level of '92, but the gap is not huge at all. The first five minutes are my favorite first five minutes in any War Games ever. I don't think stopping the match was the right call unless another team member was willing to surrender on his behalf. El Gigante doing it instead of Sting or the Steiners was silly, but I understand why they did that. Flair/Gigante was doing surprisingly well around the loop, and they needed to keep him involved, but working this match would have totally exposed him. Dusty was clearly trying to recapture the magic of the Crockett era with that main event. It came close, but it just wasn't coming back.

#3 shoe

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

This match is still amazing. Pillman was the standout star here. With Windham as the stud on the heel side. Those dropping headbutts from Pillman were sick. He really used the cage really well with some innovative spots. I thought Flair and Sting were really good here as well. Rick Steiner's clothesline bumps were pretty great too. The Sid powerboming Pillman has been discussed plenty. The finish bothered me in the past, but the way they put over Nick Patrick as the final say, and then his explanation at the end allowed me to buy the finish.

#4 Yo-Yo's Roomie

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

The first five minutes of this is one of the greatest five minute periods in wrestling history. The hatred coming from Pillman is palpable. Pillman gives the performance of a lifetime here.

#5 Childs

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:41 AM

Things I love about this match: 1) Everything Pillman. 2) Everything Windham. 3) Pillman vs. Windham. 4) The fact it didn't just end 30 seconds after the last guy entered. 5) Lots of blood. 6) Heels winning in a format that generally favored the babyfaces. Things that bug me about this match: 1) The complete lack of comment on the reasons for Larry Z replacing Anderson or the impact of that switch. 2) Sid's audible spot calling. 3) The fact El Gigante was allowed to stop a submit-or-surrender match he wasn't in. It would have made great drama for one of Pillman's teammates to surrender reluctantly because he was just that fucked up. But this finish really shat on the War Games concept. Overall, this featured some of the best moments of any War Games, but the flaws were substantial enough to keep me from calling it a truly great match.

#6 PeteF3

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:18 AM

"Yeah, he went home! He went home!" --Dusty with one of my favorite calls ever during one of the greatest match openings ever.

I wanted to do an eight-man breakdown of this the way that Loss did for the 1992 edition of this match, but it's 3 a.m. and I'm forcing myself to stay awake to prepare for an overnight shift tomorrow. Maybe later. This is probably the performance of Pillman's life, coming off as the bravest and gutsiest bastard who ever lived. Ross' fawning over Pillman's football accomplishments don't sound remotely cloying or affected--it just seems self-evident. Everyone, even Rick Steiner which surprises me in particular, takes some incredible punishment and bumps throughout, and as usual with such a genius gimmick, there isn't one second of down time at any point. The finish...yeah, the finish. Babyfaces plain and simply didn't submit in those days. Yes, it would have been better for Sting or the Steiners to submit on Pillman's behalf the way Steve McMichael would do some years later, but you keep Gigante involved and keep up the Gigante/Pillman tandem that they were pushing. It could have been better thought out and it's a bad omen of Dusty's booking regime, but I can't say that it's a horrible finish considering how badly fucked up Pillman appears to be, either. It's not like the Horsemen stole the victory. They cover for things afterward pretty well--it was Nick Patrick who made the call, not anyone else.

This is my MOTY to this (early) point, or at worst co-MOTY along with Santo/Brazo.

#7 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:45 PM

So Arn is sitting this one out? I guess do to an injury but sucks to not have him in there. Windham is already bloodied up. Horsemen win the coin toss. No J.J. Dillion here but I think some NFL team should have got him just for the coin tosses. Nice audible by Sid/Rick Steiner. All the figure fours on is a really cool spot. Pillman was great throughout match. The ceiling is scary low. Viscous powerbomb by Sid to say the least. Powerbomb 91? Gigante comes to the aid to stop the match? Bit of a crap finish to that. Below 92 version but still a real good match.

#8 Zenjo


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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:25 PM

Not on the level of 1992 and Sid must have been on the phone to Shawn beforehand. That's the critisisms out the way. Wargames is such a fantastic match format with the natural swings in momentum. It had all the high points of cage matches too, plus a few extra spots with two rings and a roof. The storyline was really strong with the injured Pillman forcing his way in first and getting bloody revenge on Windham. It would come back to haunt him later as Sid absolutely murdered him with a brutal powerbomb, leading to the surrender. It made Pillman look so heroic in defeat. The others played their roles well but there was one central character in this drama.

#9 soup23

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 02:07 PM

Cant add to much more than this. Pillman's performance is great and this is the most hatred I can remember in Sting vs. Flair encounters. The Steiners also remained serious throughout the match. The finish didn't bother me.

#10 ajtroma

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 02:53 AM

Sid nearly killing Pillman and then GOING FOR ANOTHER ONE shows that our buddy Sid is a true idiot. I'd never seen this one before tonight and it was very good. Not 1992 or 1987 good but its probably number three on the list. I think Arn had a herniated disc, but not sure. Rick Steiner trying to do a figure four was rather comical. Pillman? Jeez, what else can be said. Just tremendous.

#11 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

Watched this match last night and those first five minutes blew me away moreso than any watch I had had before. From the beginning, when the visibly injured Pillman () breaks from the pack to exact revenge from the Horsemen. I love how commentary puts that and all things Pillman over. I like how Pillman mixed athletic and violent spots to display both sides of his character. Sometimes, when people grab onto the ceiling of the cage and try to do a spot it comes off artificial. This looked Pillman was looking for that extra leverage to fuck up Barry Windham. Once Pillman busted Windham out, when he had Windham's blood smeared on his mouth that is one of the most feral, barbaric things you will ever see in a wrestling ring. Pillman was a man possessed in that segment. Flair is in like a wild man and even with his mushroom cut can still go toe to toe with Pillman in a chopfest. Flair begs off and now finally Big, Bloodied Barry has recovered enough to break Pillman's momentum. Together the Horsemen friggin chuck Pillman as hard they can shoulder first into the cage. I said "Holy Shit!" audibly seeing that. Flair goes over and gives the Sting team a big 'ol hip thrust. I love it! Barry hoists Pillman onto his shoulder and drives him his shoulder into the cage. Then they throw Pillman across into the other ring (a wicked bump) in order to get him away from Sting's door. Holy shit, that's some sweet strategy. I know just realized Pillman did the same thing to Windham in the first segment. Even in the heat of the battle, these wrestlers are the ultimate tacticians. Both Horsemen meet Sting at the door, but Sting is hopped on on that sweet Phoneix noise!?!?!?!?! He hits a double clothesline to a big pop. It is bulldogs for everyone. Windham is resorting to eye-rakes to everyone, but Sting can't be denied. Larry Z in is so Sting just flies over both rings and clobbers Larry Z. From this point on, I think this is where this Wargames loses the battle to other Wargames as just sort of settles into a blur of violence until the wicked ending. Now the four most interesting wrestlers were used right at the beginning so it sort of loses steam until the quadruple figure-4 spot. I like violence as much as next wrestling fan, but I thought the violence at the beginning of this match was a lot more noteworthy than the middle of the match. I thought it was interesting that Rick Steiner was the one that busted Flair open. I thought those honors would have gone to the Stinger. I swear everytime the camera was on Sid he was calling a spot. Ugh. I actually like how Larry Z threw Rick Steiner into the cage hard, but Steiner no-sold because "Muthafucka, I got no brains." Scotty Steiner is the bundle of energy you expect, but still nothing that really stuck out to me. Stinger Splash by Sting and locks the Scorpion Deathlock onto Flair. I agree that this some of the best Flair/Sting segments ever. Now we hit the quadruple figure-4 and you can just smell the home stretch. I never been a big fan of the military press into the roof spot as it does not looks like it hurts. I LOVE that while a bunch of action is going on you can hear Larry Z's screams of agony in the background. Wargames is friggin' awesome. Sid gets a hold of Pillman and throws him up into the ceiling. Then he nearly kills Pillman dead with the first powerbomb and then does another one. El Gigante, the friendly giant, is out to surrender for his unconscious amigo. This is an excellent violent affair. When you are picking the best Wargames of all time, you have to picks nits. I think it is the middle that lets this Wargames down. The beginning right through the Sting segment is friggin' awesome. That maybe the best opening 10 minutes in Wargames history. Pillman is an absolute beast throughout the match and the best violent performance of his career. I do not think that I have to tell anyone that 1991 WCW booking sucked the meat missile. I will say that I think the first half of the year actually sucked worst than the second half. I think the uncertainty of whether Flair would leave or not hurt more than Flair actually hurt the company more than his outright leaving. I went through the results for '91 and Flair basically wrestled only Sting and Gigante on the house show loop. I was trying to read WCW TV recaps where I could, but I could not glean any reason to believe they were building towards Luger/Flair in the same way as in '90 when Flair/Sting was being built. Late WCW '91 sucked because of lack of talent and a huge void. Early WCW '91 sucked because Flair was on top and no one was building towards anything. Luger and Sting were stuck in a malaise and a returning Nikita Koloff was not the solution. Also, how come Pillman got bumped from Jan Clash spot that Scotty Steiner got? I read that Pillman was announced on TV as having that match. Early '91 WCW was devoid of angles and direction. I love Pillman, but the fuckin Yellow Dog angle was the hottest angle of the Summer of '91. You need a hotter main event angle than that.

#12 Karl

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 12:09 PM

This match is so hot. I bet that you can watch it 100 times and see something different every viewing. Fantastic match.

#13 Zoo Enthusiast

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 07:03 PM

Just a really fun match. Obviously not much to add on Pillman, who was incredible. Sid was destroying worlds all over the place. Calling spots loud and proud and almost killing Pillman. Rick Steiner also tried to take a flip-bump on a clothesline from him and landed on his head. Great stuff.

#14 garretta

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 06:25 AM

Okay, what hasn't been said about this match?


First of all, I was surprised at how well Zbyszko fit in. If you expected to see cowardly, stalling Zvyszko, or as close as you can come in a match like this, forget it. He mixed it up as willingly and viciously as anyone else here in a way I've never seen out of him before. He proved that he was an inspired choice as Arn's sub, and I'm excited to see more of him in WCW as a result. By the way, Arn did a superb job in the JJ Dillon managerial role, even climbing the cage at one point when the Horsemen were in trouble. We all know that he legitimately wanted to be in there, but since he couldn't, watching his performance outside was a real treat.


I noticed that Dusty started the match on commentary trying to hide his accent as best he could, but getting caught up in the action caused it to return. Was it his idea to hide it, or was that a directive from Jim Herd and the Turner brass?


JR was peerless on commentary. He was a master storyteller telling one of the most compelling stories you're likely to find in this business, and he not only rose to the occasion, he took the occasion with him. The only big match call that might have been better was Hogan/Andre at Mania III, but that match wasn't at a constant fever pitch of violence like this one was, plus Gino had the greatest commentator who ever held the job alongside him. Not that Dusty isn't good, but he's no Jesse.  


Now on to the obvious. Yes, this was, at least for the most part, the Brian Pillman show. He and Barry started it off at a hundred miles an hour, and it just kept going from there. Everyone had their moments, but always the story came back to Pillman and how he was faring. How in the world he wasn't made Flair's next big challenger after this I have no idea. I know Gigante did big business with Flair, but Pillman trying to gain revenge on the Horsemen by taking the thing they hold dearest of all would have been the hottest angle of the year bar none. Oh well, at least we have the Windham feud as a substitute.


Sid's spot-calling didn't bother me. It was like he was saying, "Even if I tell you to your face exactly what I plan to do to you, you still won't stop me!" In other contexts, it would have taken away from the atmosphere. Here, it added to it.


Now to the finish. Yes, it went against the stated WarGames rules, but really, who else could have taken the loss, even through a teammate? The Steiners are supposed to be the next best thing to unstoppable, and a big-pay-per-view loss so soon after losing the World title would have finished Sting for good. If Brian had quit for himself, how could he have been rebuilt? Since when are noble, heroic babyfaces supposed to care about their own injuries? This was the only way.The only other thing they could have done was take Pillman out of the cage and force the faces to fight four-on-three, but someone from that side would have still had to quit, and that someone still would have been diminished.


Gigante being the one to tell Nick Patrick to get in there and look at Pillman only added to the poignancy of the whole thing. Who else was going to do it, since Sting and the Steiners were still fighting for their lives? I liked that Patrick took the decision on his own shoulders, and that Tony kind of foreshadowed something like this in the opening when he read the rule about the head referee (Patrick) making the final decision on all aspects of the match.


They had to have told the audience earlier in the card that Arn couldn't compete and would be replaced by Zbyszko in order to avoid potentially massive refunds. We just don't see it here on the discs. (Yes, I know about cards being subject to change, but that still wouldn't have stopped the phone calls or the potential embarrassment, even if Turner didn't actually have to pay anything.)


This one's my Match of the Year so far, even with Warrior/Savage (which I've seen before) still to come. There may be more violent matches, more emotional matches, and matches where the crowd is into it more fervently. But I highly doubt we'll see a match for the rest of the year that combines violence, emotion from the participants, and crowd heat like this one does. A superb job by all concerned.

#15 PeteF3

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 10:01 AM

If Sid had yelled "power bomb," that's one thing--but he was yelling "FIGURE FOUR!" at a babyface.

#16 garretta

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 02:18 PM

I wasn't aware of that, Pete. I was paying attention to what I was seeing, not what the wrestlers were saying. He must not have yelled too loudly, because I never heard it. Still, unless you knew carny language or how the boys called spots, if you heard just the names of the moves you'd assume that Sid was telling his victim what he was planning next, or maybe deliberately trying to fake them out by telling them the wrong move. So it still added to the story if you could pick it up, whether it was meant to or not.

#17 JKWebb

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 02:28 PM



This match is incredible. It's my second favorite War Games only behind 92. I'd have this one at ****3/4. I love how Pillman utilized the cage in the opening moments throwing that kick at Windham. He's great in this. Windham and Pillman really kick this off with a bang. Then you have Flair coming in and they chop the shit out of each other. It's all so good. I'm with Chad in that this is some of the best Sting and Flair in-ring stuff we ever get. Man, I love this. The finish does not bother me either.

#18 dawho5

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 12:26 AM

Pillman was absolutely THE MAN here.  How did WCW not look at him and see a money guy after this?  Great match with huge contributions from Windham, Flair, Rick Steiner and..Sid?!?  Easily the best WCW match since January 1990.

#19 Edwin

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 09:39 AM

WarGames matches are my favs. and this is a perfect example as to why I love them. Just a bloody, intense, hated filled brawl with a hot wild crowd. So many awesome things going at a time -- Pillman and Windham, Sting and Flair, Windham and Flair bleeding buckets, Sid Gansobombing Pillman, etc. Put any semi-decent to great talent in a WarGames match and you can almost certainly produce a MOTY candidate. Just a beautiful match.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: WCW, Wrestle War, February 24, 1991, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Larry Zbyszko, Sid, Sting, Brian Pillman, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Steiners, Four Horsemen, Flair vs Sting, Phoenix, War Games, Cage Match, 4.5*

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