365 match reviews, one for each date on the yearly calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
The Dangerous Alliance is one of my favorite factions in wrestling.
Paul E. Dangerously (who you might know better as Paul Heyman) formed the Dangerous Alliance over the span of several weeks in late 1991. Dangerously, who had been fired in storyline from his commentary position, was out for revenge. By late November, he had assembled his squad: Arn Anderson, Beautiful Bobby Eaton (who we’ve already seen as part of the project), Stunning Steve Austin (long before he was Stone Cold), Rick Rude, Larry Zbysko, and Madusa.
The Dangerous Alliance never reached the heights of success of other major heel groups in WCW like the Four Horsemen and the New World Order, but stand out by having good to great matches almost every week across WCW’s various programming. Matches like today’s entry, from WCW WorldWide on January 11, 1992, pitting Anderson, Eaton and Austin against the trio of Ricky Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, and Ron Simmons.
You can find this match online with some strategic searching.
By early 1992, the Alliance controls two titles in WCW, with Austin the TV Champ and Rude holding the U.S. Title. Anderson and Eaton are chasing the tag titles, currently held by Steamboat and Rhodes. They won the titles from Arn and Zbysko at Clash of the Champions XVII in November of ’91, beating Arn and Zbysko when Steamboat showed up as a surprise partner for Rhodes after the champs broke the hand of Rhodes’ original partner, Barry Windham, earlier in the night.
All caught up? Good.
Tony Schiavone is on commentary solo and does a good job keeping track of so many moving pieces, including more subtle cues, such as when a groggy Dustin Rhodes reaches for a tag in the vacant neutral corner. From a structural standpoint, note how each of the fan favorites has a separate chance to shine early, as each man single-handedly clears the ring of his three Alliance foes. Paul E. helps sell it, twice dialing up some unknown soul on his gigantic handheld phone trying to get his team back on track.
Teamwork is one of the themes of this match. In an innovative transition, the Alliance take control when Arn smashes Dustin’s into Eaton’s noggin on the apron. Much of the action here would be defined by modern standards as basic. No crazy moves. Not trying to re-invent the wheel. But the difference is that everything is done with precision and intensity. It’s good solid wrestling, and lots of it, happening at a brisk pace from bell to bell.
The little touches really elevate this six man, such as:
–When Dustin kicks out after eating a huge clothesline from Austin, Steamboat (who was already headed in to try and break up the pin) starts cheering on his partner.
–As the beatdown on Rhodes continues, Arn backs into the ropes to deliver a stalling kneedrop to Dustin, only for Steamboat to slide into the ring and take the knee across his own back.
–A unique turnabout spot, where Arn goes to ram Dustin’s head into the outstretched knee of Austin in a tag-match spot we’ve all seen a million times, only for Dustin to send Arn’s cranium into the knee instead. Arn and Dustin smash skulls after the impact while Austin, doing the Wrestling Gods’ work, stumbles to the floor, selling his knee after the impact.
The finish reiterates the theme of sacrifice and teamwork when Steamboat disrupts a double-team by Arn and Eaton, and Simmons catches Beautiful Bobby in midair for a spinebuster to give the good guys a rare victory over the Dangerous Alliance. No time to celebrate. as Zbysko comes hustling to the ring for a 4-on-3 beatdown, which sees Steamboat eat both a spike piledriver and a flying legdrop by Eaton before Windham sends the rulebreakers scattering.
Final Rating: 6.8
With a less talented group of wrestlers, this match easily would be skippable. Instead, the little touches, the overarching storyline and the overall talent of the six men involved help make this a compelling watch.
Some tag action from 2007 featuring one of my favorites.