Open: Tony Schiavone & Eric Bischoff are in the arena and they introduce the card. Jim Ross is in the ring and he introduces his broadcast partner, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. He can’t think of a better place or time to come back after two years, and he delivers his thoughts on the world championship match.
Match #1 for the WCW World Light-Heavyweight Championship: WCW World Light-Heavyweight Champion Jushin Thunder Liger vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Collar and elbow and Brian grabs a wristlock. Liger flips around and gains control. They hit the ropes, shoulder tackle by Pillman. They exchange shoulder tackles and collide with simultaneous drop kicks. Drop toe hold by Pillman and he holds an arm bar, switches to a hammerlock. Liger slow to his feet and it’s broken in the corner. Liger takes some quick liberties, Irish whip but Pillman catches him with a head scissor take down followed by a drop kick that sends the champ to the floor. A modified baseball slide kicks Liger into the guard rail. Liger takes his time and re-enters the ring.
Liger dodges a tie up with a double leg take down and ties his opponent up with a mat submission. Pillman struggles for position and kicks out of the hold. Forearm shot and a chop by Flyin Brian. Irish whop, but Liger leapfrogs him, runs to the other corner and hits a moonsault for two. A drop kick sends Pillman to the floor, Liger charges but backs up with a back flip when Brian moves. The crowd appreciates these two athletes. Kick to the midsection, snapmare takedown and a seated abdominal stretch by Pillman. Brian pulls Liger to the mat with a head scissor submission. Liger spins to his knees and frees himself. He goes for a surfboard but Pillman is quick to get to the ropes. Drop toe hold by Liger and he tries again, but again Pillman gets to the ropes.
Collar and elbow tie up, Liger with corner position and lands shoulder blocks to the midsection. Irish whip followed by a quick drop kick and Pillman falls face first on the mat. Pillman is sent to the ropes but catches the champ in a crucifix and a two count. Forearm shot by Pillman, he sends Liger, but this time it’s Jushin who surprises his opponent and rolls him up for two with a unique sunset flip. To their feet and Pillman lands a quick belly to back suplex for another near fall. A chop by Pillman, Irish whip but Liger moves. The champ works over Pillman’s left leg hard, and he locks in the figure four leglock in the middle of the ring.
Randy Anderson counts each time Pillman’s shoulder are on the mat but he kicks out. Up to a seated position and they both exchange slaps across the face. He slowly tries to turn the hold as the crowd chants “USA”. He completes the counter, but Liger rolls them all the way to the ropes. Both men are reeling, but Liger comes out of it the better stomping away on Pillman’s leg. He turns him over into a modified half crab. Pillman strengths his way up to one foot and kicks Liger aside his head. Pillman is still favoring his leg, Liger sends him to the ropes but Brian counters with a head scissor. He rushes Liger near the ropes but the champ lifts him to the floor with a back body drop. Liger climbs to the top rope and sentons down to the floor on top of Pillman.
The ref counts as Pillman is slow to the apron, they block each other’s attempts at a vertical suplex and Brian sends Liger into the turnbuckle. He springboards from the top rope and delivers a flying clothesline. Pillman grabs a front face lock and sets up to send Liger to the floor, and he gets him. To the top rope for Pillman and he lands a flying cross body. Pillman sets Liger up against the railing, he tries an ax handle from the apron but is caught in the chin with a boot. Liger rolls him in and heads for the top, Pillman catches him in the jaw with a drop kick. Now it’s Pillman’s turn for the top turnbuckle, he attempts a missile dropkick and is met by Jushin’s standing dropkick.
To their feet and they collide again, this time with spinning heel kicks. Liger with a big chop, Pillman reverses the whip to the ropes and executes a power slam for two. Liger reverses a waistlock, hits a bridging German suplex and he too gets a two count. Pillman is positioned on the top rope, Pillman blocks the superplex and throws him to the mat. Huge cross body and it’s a very close count. Liger reverses a back body drop into a pinning powerbomb for another close count. He sets up another, this time Pillman counters into a roll up and gets two. Knee to the head by Liger, Pillman is sent to the ropes but comes back with a DDT. Liger grabs the ropes to break up the pin.
Chop by Pillman, Liger ducks a clothesline, Pillman ducks one on the come back, they both dive and they hit heads in the middle of the ring. Groggy, Pillman climbs the ropes. Liger hits the top rope to seat him on the turnbuckle. Superplex by Liger and Pillman somehow kicks out. Liger is quick to climb back to the top but Pillman moves away from the big splash. Pillman opportunistically rolls Liger over with a bridging pin and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Light-Heavyweight Champion: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: Absolutely fantastic showing by these two incredible, young athletes. One of my all-time favorite WCW matches and a real hidden gem if you always considered yourself a ‘WCW snob’. For as many high risk moves as this match featured, it was also chalked full of some good mat work and general creativity. Great showcase match 5 years before the heyday of the Cruiserweight division, as Pillman regains his title after losing it at the end of December at a house show. It’s great to start off hot, the only question becomes: how do you follow it?
Backstage: Missy Hyatt is standing by with Terrance Taylor. ‘The Taylor Made Man’ explains that he wanted Marcus Alexander Bagwell to be his protégé. He was going to teach him how to be a winner, instead he’s going to teach him how to be a loser.
Match #2: ‘The Taylor Made Man’ Terrance Taylor vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Collar and elbow tie up, Taylor with position in the corner and there’s a clean break. Another tie up, Taylor wrestles him to the mat, goes for a waistlock but Bagwell escapes. Tie up, side headlock by Taylor, they hit the ropes and there’s a shoulder tackle by Terrance, Marcus comes back with a hip toss. To their feet, Taylor shoves Bagwell and gets in his face. Collar and elbow tie up, Taylor with position and a quick strike, but Bagwell retaliates quickly knocking his opponent to the mat. They size each other up, tie up and Taylor hits a knee to the midsection and dumps him to the raised entrance ramp.
He gives chase, but Bagwell greets him with an inverted and regular atomic drop before clotheslining him back into the ring. To the top for Bagwell and a flying cross body earns him two. Side headlock takedown by Bagwell and he hangs on. Back to a vertical base, Taylor fights out of it with a headbutt and dumps Bagwell to the floor. Marcus lands on his feet and quickly returns to the ring, blindsiding Taylor with a side headlock. They hit the ropes, a shoulder block and a lateral press gets two. Taylor slides out to the ramp to slow it down. Back in the squared circle, the crowd chants “Loser” in his direction.
Collar and elbow tie up, knee to the midsection by Taylor, Bagwell skips out of the vertical suplex attempt and grabs a sleeper hold. Taylor stumbles to the ropes to break it up, and Taylor grabs the tights to dump Bagwell to the floor. On the outside, Bagwell’s face tastes steel and a big right hand. Back in the ring, chinbuster by Taylor. He mockingly slaps Bagwell around and delivers a right. Marcus fights back with a series of punches and sends Taylor to the rope. The Taylor Made Man stops short of the back body drop and lifts him for a power bomb. Bagwell kicks out at two and a half. Vicious kick to the head by Taylor and Bagwell meets the turnbuckle.
Irish whip and a clothesline by Taylor, Bagwell is reeling. Another kick out at two. Bagwell is sent to the ropes and he leaps Taylor to roll over with a sunset flip for two. Bagwell with ineffective punches before he gets a kick to the midsection and a vertical suplex. Terrance heads to the top turnbuckle and he lands a big splash but the rookie kicks out at two. Bagwell blocks the piledriver with a back body drop. Taylor rakes the eyes and hits a snapmare takeover. Seated neckbreaker by Taylor and Bagwell kicks out of another lateral press. Marcus refuses to quit and a lands some strikes, he hits the ropes and chain wrestles his way into a victory roll.
Winner: Marcus Alexander Bagwell (Victory Roll)
- After The Bell: Taylor is incensed and hits Bagwell with The Taylor Made Forearm and a DDT.
- EA’s Take: Not a bad match. The upstart Bagwell is still a tad green, as evidenced by missing the mark on a few things such as overshooting the sunset flip and Taylor having to back up into it which didn’t look very good. I think this is Terry Taylor’s third gimmick in around two years as he enters some of the final years of his career. Like any good veteran should do, he puts over young talent here and it’s what he’s always kind of been best at.