Every 1993 WCW Pay-Per-View Ranked

Halloween Havoc 1993

After a fine 1992 in the ring, albeit a tumultuous out of it, WCW had stabilised backstage in 1993, with Eric Bischoff remaining at the helm as Executive Producer throughout and beyond.

However, on television the company was struggling for an identity. WCW produced a record eight pay-per-views in 1993. However, very few left a lasting impression.

This feature ranks them all, from worst to best!

#8 Fall Brawl

Fall Brawl was a truly woeful card. That was a disappointment when it promised so much on paper. Ric Flair versus Rick Rude was something of a dream bout with the WCW International Title at stake. The bout was supposed to be for Flair’s NWA World Championship, but WCW withdrew from the NWA shortly before the card took place.

Flair and Rude had real life heat and failed to co-operate with each other during their match-up. It led to a succession of rest holds over its interminable 31 minute runtime. A colossal failure on every level.

The WarGames main event saw Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes and The Shockmaster take on Vader, Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat in a lifeless encounter, bereft of heat. Incredibly, the calamitous Shockmaster forced Booker T to submit to a bearhug to win the bout for the faces. I kid you not.

Elsewhere, Cactus Jack versus Yoshi Kwan, Arn Anderson and Paul Roma versus The Nasty Boys and Ice Train versus Shanghai Pierce were complete duds. 2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell versus Paul Orndorff and The Equalizer and Big Sky versus Charlie Norris were both as exciting as watching grass grow.

The only bright spot on the show was a passable bout pitting Ricky Steamboat against Lord Steven Regal with the WCW Television Title at stake. The bout was a good old fashioned back and forth battle. Regal won the gold when his manager, Sir William nailed ‘The Dragon’ with an umbrella.

Fall Brawl 1993 was unquestionably WCW’s worst card of the year.

#7 BattleBowl

After dominating Starrcade in 1991 and 1992, the BattleBowl gimmick was upgraded (or downgraded, depending on your point of view) to its own dedicated pay-per-view event in 1993.

Eight of the nine bouts were tag team BattleBowl qualifiers and the headliner was the BattleBowl Battle Royal itself.

The highlight of the undercard was the tag team contest pitting unlikely partners, Ric Flair and Steve Austin against Maxx Payne and 2 Cold Scorpio.

The BattleBowl main event was decent, if a tad overlong at 24 minutes. The final four saw BattleBowl MVP’s Flair and Austin tangle with the reigning WCW World Champion, Vader and Sting. ‘The Mastodon’ last eliminated Sting to win the contest.

Passable but ultimately meaningless. BattleBowl 1993 was an entirely miss-able pay-per-view event.

#6 Beach Blast

Beach Blast 1993 only played host to one good match. That was the bout pitting The Hollywood Blonds, Steve Austin and Brian Pillman against Arn Anderson and Paul Roma of The Four Horsemen. Both teams were motivated in this contest and wrestled at an energetic pace for much of the 26 minute contest. The finish came when Austin reversed a Roma roll up into one of his own (with help from Pillman) to score the pin. An excellent match in a series of fine bouts between the Blonds and the Horsemen.

Unfortunately, everything else on the card was a disappointment. Barry Windham dropped the NWA World Title to his former Horsemen buddy, Ric Flair in a tepid bout. Windham ran out of gas early and Flair, already past his best at this point could not carry him. The finish appeared to be botched as Windham was counted down when his shoulders stayed on the mat whilst Flair had him locked in the Figure Four. So bizarre was that ending, that the Mississippi crowd did not even realise ‘The Nature Boy’ had won, which was hugely anti-climatic.

Johnny B. Badd versus Maxx Payne, Paul Orndorff versus Ron Simmons, Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio versus Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce and Erik Watts versus Lord Steven Regal were all as exciting as watching paint dry.

Dustin Rhodes and Rick Rude bored the live crowd to tears in a 30 minute Iron Man encounter, which was not a patch on Rude’s Iron Man bout with Ricky Steamboat the previous year. To make matters worse, the result was a 1-1 draw.

The headliner was packed with star names and actually delivered some decent action. Davey Boy Smith and Sting defeated Vader and Sid Vicious in a passable encounter, notable for Vader debuting his impressive Vadersault. Incredibly, that was not the finish and Smith managed to pull out a crucifix pin to win the bout for his team. It was a victory for the faces.

There was nothing memorable about this show apart from The Blonds versus Horsemen encounter. Even that was far from a classic. Beach Blast 1993 was a colossal failure as a major event.

#5 Slamboree

Vader 1993

Slamboree 1993 was the inaugural Slamboree event and was billed as ‘A Legend’s Reunion.’ The card played host to a Hall of Fame ceremony where Lou Thesz, Mr Wrestling II, Verne Gagne and Eddie Graham were inducted. More old school NWA legends were also honoured during a ‘Legend’s Ceremony.’ The show also saw the reunion of The Four Horsemen, who announced their reformation in a backstage segment.

Building on the legends theme, long retired stars also competed in matches on the show. As a result the in-ring quality left much to be desired.

Dick Murdoch, Don Muraco and Jimmy Snuka versus Blackjack Mulligan, Jim Brunzell and Wahoo McDaniel was an appalling six-man contest. Laughably, the bout ended in a double disqualification. The long retired stars could not even agree on who would lose. This was a waste of everybody’s time.

Dory Funk Jr. against Nick Bockwinkel would have been a hot ticket main event two decades earlier, but was a woeful affair in 1993. What’s worse it lasted an interminable 15 minutes and also did not have a finish as the pair went to a time-limit draw.

Ivan Koloff and Baron Von Raschke versus Thunderbolt Patterson and Brad Armstrong benefitted from having a clean finish and lasting less than five minutes. However, it was far from good.

Sting took on The Prisoner (Nailz of WWF fame) in a tedious battle. Sid Vicious destroyed Van Hammer in a sub-minute squash and Rick Rude and Paul Orndorff rolled over the curious team of Dustin Rhodes and Kensuke Sasaki in a disappointing contest.

Despite the long list of dross on the card, there were some entertaining bouts on offer. The Hollywood Blonds and Dos Hombres contested a strong Steel Cage bout. Dos Hombres were Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas, except Douglas had departed WCW before this match could take place. Tom Zenk took his place under the hood instead, but this wasn’t explained to the masses. Steve Austin nailed Zenk with the Stun Gun to retain the belts for the Blonds.

Bobby Eaton and Chris Benoit were defeated by Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio in a good match, when Scorpio pinned Benoit.

Barry Windham defended his NWA World Title against Arn Anderson in a battle between former Horsemen comrades. Violent, with logical storytelling, this was a choice encounter, worthy of it’s semi-main event status. Windham went over which set up his title match with Ric Flair at Beach Blast.

The headliner saw Davey Boy Smith defeat Big Van Vader by disqualification in a strong match between two wrestlers whose main gimmick was their superhuman strength. After earning several near falls without success, Smith hit his running powerslam. However, Vader’s manager, Harley Race pulled the referee out of the ring, earning the DQ.

With only a handful of decent bouts and a large amount of rubbish on the undercard, Slamboree was another entirely miss-able 1993 WCW pay-per-view.

#4 SuperBrawl III

SuperBrawl III was highlighted by a White Castle of Fear Strap Match pitting Sting against Vader. In another sterling effort in their series of bouts, this encounter had everything. Big moves, drama, excellent pacing, logical storytelling; this contest is unquestionably the finest Strap Match in wrestling history. It is that good.

The rest of the card rather pales into insignificance. Of historical note, was Barry Windham finally lifting the NWA World Title, five years too late. He defeated The Great Muta in a 24 minute bore fest, which sucked the life out of the North Carolina crowd. Also, ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair returned to WCW on this show after 18-months in the WWF. He attempted to present Windham with the title belt post-match, but Windham refused. This would set the stage for their NWA Championship encounter at Beach Blast later that year.

Chris Benoit lost to 2 Cold Scorpio in an energetic encounter. However, neither wrestler at this point in their career had achieved anything of significance in the West so the crowd sat on their hands, which robbed the bout of an atmosphere. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express bested The Heavenly Bodies for the SMW Tag Team Title in another enjoyable bout, which built to a crescendo and peaked at the finish.

Cactus Jack dragged the past his prime, Paul Orndorff to a passable Falls Count Anywhere contest, which benefitted from the stipulation. Interestingly, Orndorff continually tried to outwrestle Cactus, but the Hardcore Legend kept turning the match into an all out brawl. As if it to underline that point, Cactus nailed Orndorff with a shovel to score the pin.

Davey Boy Smith made his WCW pay-per-view debut opposite Bill Irwin in a total dud. Dustin Rhodes versus Maxx Payne also bored the fans to tears.

The Hollywood Blonds versus Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Erik Watts was watchable due to the performances of Austin and Pillman who dominated the offence. That was just as well, as the mechanical Bagwell and calamitous Watts could not carry the load for a 17 minute match-up.

The card was largely miss-able, but the Sting versus Vader main event was must see.

#3 Starrcade

Starrcade 1993 Ric Flair WCW Champion

The tenth anniversary of Starrcade is famous for Ric Flair’s sterling WCW World Title victory over Big Van Vader with Flair’s career on the line. In a gripping 21 minute encounter, Flair withstood ‘The Mastodon’s’ brutal offence, to trip and cradle the champion for the victory and belt. In truth, there was little else of note on the event, but some of the bouts on the undercard were enjoyable.

Rick Rude versus The Big Boss (the recently signed former Big Boss Man) was an enjoyable contest with Rude’s WCW International Title at stake. Steve Austin bested Dustin Rhodes in a decent two out of three falls contest for the United States Title. Also entertaining was Lord Steven Regal’s bout with Ricky Steamboat.

However, the rest of the card was a complete dud. Thankfully, Flair and Vader came to the rescue in the main event, ensuring Starrcade 1993 will always remain a historic show.

#2 Halloween Havoc

1993 Halloween Havoc

The headliner saw WCW Champion Vader clash with Cactus Jack in a Texas Death Match. This was an excellent, exciting brawl, which was a worthy feud ending collision between the pair. Cactus surprisingly dominated offence but succumbed to defeat, when Vader’s manager, Harley Race zapped him with a taser. Disappointing finish but a superlative contest which ended the card on a high note.

Unfortunately, the show opened with a whimper, with an underwhelming contest between Harlem Heat and The Equalizer versus the awful Shockmaster, Ice Train, and Charlie Norris. Featuring lethargic, uninspiring action, this match felt like an epic chore at 10 minutes in duration.

In a rematch from Halloween Havoc 1990, Sting and Sid Vicious clashed again in another terrible bout. Sid was turned babyface post-match after decking his manager, Colonel Robert Parker. Davey Boy Smith clashed with Sir Steven Regal in an awkward style clash between the two Brits. It went to a 15-minute time limit draw, which bored the live crowd to tears.

Paul Orndorff defeated Ricky Steamboat via count-out, in yet another disappointing finish on a card packed with them. In 1987, this could have been a classic, but in 1993, it was just passable. The match was booked to go 18 minutes which didn’t help the veterans. At half the length this could have been a choice encounter. As it was, it never progressed past second gear.

The card was rounded out by three good matches. The first of which pitted Dustin Rhodes against Stunning Steve Austin for Rhodes’s United States Title. Solid, tidy wrestling mixed with brawling, this was worth the effort. However, it was marred unfortunately by a dead crowd. The Nasty Boys bested Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio for the WCW Tag Team Title in a fun, energetic encounter. Finally, Rick Rude retained his WCW International Title opposite Ric Flair via disqualification. This bout was better than their Fall Brawl match, due in part to it’s more urgent pace and greater heat. However, it was another contest which ended in an unsatisfactory finish.

Halloween Havoc 1993 was an enjoyable watch, but the action was greatly let down by the booking.

#1 WCW/NJPW SuperShow III

1993 Jushin Liger

WCW and New Japan combined for their third annual spectacular.

Somewhat ironically, it was WCW’s finest event of the year. Even more tellingly, WCW’s role in the show was fairly minimal. Only Sting, The Steiners, Ron Simmons, Dustin Rhodes and Scott Norton competed at the event.

Sting defeated Hiroshi Hase in a decent encounter that saw the pair overcome an awkward style clash. The Steiners clashed with The Hellraisers in a full on brawl that saw both teams counted out. Despite the cheap finish, the action was fast paced and hard hitting.

Simmons dropped Tony Halme in an awful encounter and Masa Saito and Shinya Hashimoto dropped Dustin Rhodes and Scott Norton in an instantly forgettable clash.

The rest of the card was rounded out by New Japan wrestlers competing against one another. Highlights of which were the IWGP Junior Title bout pitting Ultimo Dragon against Jushin Liger and the NWA World Title versus IWGP Title battle. That contest saw Masahiro Chono and The Great Muta compete in a bout which was light years ahead of their humdrum clash at Starrcade 1992.

The headliner between veterans, Genichiro Tenryu and Riki Choshu was the match of the night. Mixing mat based wrestling with full on brawling, this was everything a Japanese wrestling crowd would want to see. This 18 minute classic rocked the Tokyo Dome.

Despite WCW’s minor role in the card, the third annual SuperShow between WCW and NJPW was a fine effort.

You can watch classic WCW events exclusively on the WWE Network.