Match #7 for the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship: WCW Light Heavyweight Champion ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk
Pillman gives a handshake and the action starts. Collar and elbow and Brian gets the arm first. Zenk reverses into a hammerlock, into the side headlock. Shoulder tackle from Zenk, they avoid contact and both men try a drop kick at the same time. They size each other up, drop toe hold by Pillman and he works on the left arm. Zenk is held with a hammerlock and Pillman piles on with the knees. A whip to the ropes and they hook arms with simultaneous clotheslines. Snapmare by Pillman and a knee to the head for one. Collar and elbow, side headlock by Pillman, Zenk throws him toward the corner.
Pillman leaps frogs over him but Z-Man lands the arm drag. A lateral press gets two and Z-Man goes back to the hammerlock. Zenk tries to flip him into a pin but can’t. He slips into an arm bar on their feet. To the ropes and Pillman lands a head scissor and an arm drag into the arm bar. Snapmare into the head scissor submission by the reigning champ. They roll over and it’s broken on the ropes. Pillman sends Zenk who steps in and reverses into a backslide. After a two count, he gets another with a surprise inside cradle. Zenk with a sunset flip and he still can’t get three. Pillman with some heavy chops and a drop toe hold, he stays on the knee hard.
Pillman goes for a flip onto the knee and Z-Man moves out of the way. Zenk takes the opportunity to stomp on Pillman’s back, lifting him for a big vertical suplex. Z-Man drives his knees into the back and then lifts him for a back breaker. Zenk goes for a big splash but he’s met with a set of knees. Pillman trips him with a low kick and regains control with shots to the left knee. Pillman turns him over into a half crab as the ref checks on Zenk. Pillman grabs the leg but is kicked in the head with the enziguri, he kicks out at two. Zenk is in control with a chop and an Irish whip, Pillman moves, Zenk goes down and the champ locks in the figure four.
Tempers are flying and they exchange slaps to the face. Z-Man works hard to spin Pillman over and he finally gets there. Pillman instead rolls again and the hold is broken on the ropes. They are slow to their feet, Pillman landing open hand chops. Irish whip to the corner, Pillman is flipped to the apron. Brian springboards into the ring and Zenk counters with a power slam and a very close pin. Chops are exchanged, they hit the ropes, Pillman executes a crucifix for two and a half. Brian hammers a forearm and seats Zenk on the top turnbuckle.
Z-Man frees himself and knocks Pillman to the mat, he lands a big flying cross body but is slow to make the pin, Flyin Brian kicks out. They run the ropes and collide in the middle of the ring once again, this time head first. Pillman is up first, Zenk reverses the whip and lifts the champ high in the air landing face first, he gets a very close count. Both men are wobbly, Z-Man can’t stay on his feet. Pillman flies off the top rope but he eats Zenk’s big boot. There’s a quick cover but Flyin Brian is in the ropes. Zenk calls for a flying drop kick, Pillman stops short causing him to miss, he flips over for a bridging roll up and he retains the belt.
Winner and STILL WCW Light Heavyweight Champion: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: Alright, that was better – finally some heat and action you can invest in. Both of these guys are tremendously athletic, but they told a good story between the ropes of trying to disadvantage the others’ strengths with mat work. Z-Man takes the loss, but he looked very good along the way and dare I say, possibly the best we’ve seen of him. It may have been a handful of years before it really took hold in the USA, but I’m really enjoying this early 90’s Light Heavyweight division.
Match #8 – IWGP Tag Team Championships #1 Contender’s Match: WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) vs. Tatsumi Fujinami & Takayuki Iizuka
Scott and Fujinami get us started. Collar and elbow tie up, Scott gets position but Fujinami fights back and there is a clean break. They tie up again and Scott is taken over with an arm drag. Scott with a single leg pick up, Fujinami gets to the ropes. A tie up, Scott with a fireman carry take over but can not pin him. Fujinami reverses the whip, shoulder block by Steiner, he scoops Fujinami but can’t get much on the fall away flam. Iizuka rushes the ring and he gets it better. Big clothesline by Steiner on Fujinami.
They slow it down and iizuka is tagged in. Collar and elbow, Scott with position but it’s flipped. Irish whip and a shoulder block by Iizuka, follows it with a scoop slam and an elbow off the second rope. He heads for the top rope and lands a 360 flip, but Scotty kicks out at two. iizuka tries spinning Scott into the Boston crab and he has it locked in. Scott uses his upper body strength and he bridges back to his feet. The younger brother delivers a douible underhook powerbomb, he lifts Iizuka on his shoulder, tags in Rick who enters with a big elbow drop. Rick grabs a reverse chin lock, but Fujinami reaches over and gets tagged in. Side headlock takeover by Fujinami.
Back to a vertical base and they jockey for position, Rick finally gets the advantage and sends him with a German release suplex. Back to the reverse chin lock and Scott is tagged back in. Fujinami is sent for the ride and gets a back elbow. Scott locks in a half crab but it’s broken by the ropes. Collar and elbow, Scott gets position and tags in Rick. Fujinami fires the first shots and lifts Rick on his shoulders. Tag is made, Iizuka flies off the top rope and Rick reverses it into the belly to belly suplex. Scott takes offense to the double team and the referee restrains him. Forearms from Iizuka followed by chops. They hit the ropes and Rick lands a football tackle and an elbow getting a two count.
Fujinami is back in with some quick strikes and he rolls into a mat submission on Steiner’s ankle. Rick is able to roll Fujinami over, but he can’t get a three count. Fujinami drags Rick to the corner and he stretches the hamstring. Iizuka is tagged back in and he keeps up with the theme of breaking down the leg. Rick cradles him over for a two count but can’t escape the hold. Finally, Rick rolls into a hammerlock and he takes control. Scott is tagged in and he quickly delivers a tilt-a-whirl slam. A slow pin only allows for two. Scott with some mat wrestling, double chicken winging his opponent. Single leg suplex by Scott and older brother returns to the action. More mat submission work, Fujinami distracts Rick by climbing the turnbuckles but he ultimately stands down.
Rick lifts Iizuka on his shoulders and drives him upside down into the corner. It’s Scott’s turn again and he hooks in an abdominal stretch that moves into a suplex. Iizuka kicks out at two, but Scott relentlessly stays on the arm bar submission. Scott cradles him but the ropes break it. Iizuka is close enough to make the tag and Fujinami breaks the hold. He provokes Rick on the other side and all hell breaks loose. The ref restores order and Fujinami grabs an abdominal stretch. Pinning predicament but Scott kicks out. The Japanese star holds on with a headlock, he throws some rights.
Scott gets his knee up to the midsection, muscles him down with a botched hip toss and tags in his brother. Fujinami fends off the forearms and shoves his way to his own corner to make the tag. Iizuka lands some quick kicks but Rick takes him down with a double leg pick up. A belly to belly and a lateral press but Fujinami breaks up the pin. Scott is tagged in, snapmare to Iizuka but he rolls into a tag. Scott and Fujinami tie up, Iizuka tries a cheapshot but Scott takes them both out with reverse hip tosses. A double Steinerline is ducked from Scott, but Rick flies off the turnbuckle to land one. The ref redirects him back to his corner.
Scott sets up Iizuka on the top turnbuckle but Fujinami suplexes him from behind with the referee turned. iizuka with a bridging suplex but he can’t hold it, Scott kicks out at two. Fujinami is tagged in and he hits a spike piledriver. Fujinami holds Scott in a full nelson and Iizuka hits him with a drop kick. Scott is sent for the ride and finds himself caught in a dragon sleeper hold. Scott wisely gets to the ropes, Fujinami goes for it again but Scott kicks him in the face and hits a clothesline. They run the ropes and and collide in the middle of the ring, the double count is on.
Both men make their tags, Rick sends Iizuka for the ride and nails him with a Steinerline, kickout at two. Rick with a belly to belly suplex, Fujinami makes the save. Scott rushes to stop the interference. Meanwhile, Rick seats Iizuka on the top turnbuckle and lands a belly to belly from there. We have new #1 contenders!
Winners: The Steiner Brothers (Rick/Top Rope Belly-To-Belly Suplex)
- EA’s Take: A couple spots of miscommunication, but overall a great match. Without looking it up, I’m fairly confident Rick and Scott go on to win those titles. Not to be “that guy” groaning about a great move, but the belly-to-belly reversal from the shoulders didn’t feel as organic as it did last show when it felt like their opponents were attempting to use their own move against them.