wrestling / Columns

Top 7 WCW Feuds

July 31, 2020 | Posted by Steve Cook
Ric Flair Sting WCW

We take requests here from time to time at [email protected], or on Twitter @stevecook84. I’m always open to what the people want to read about, and this is a result of a request from loyal reader William.

World Championship Wrestling has been out of business for nineteen years now. Hard to believe, isn’t it? WCW was an important part of my childhood along with the WWF & ECW, and I spent many hours in front of my TV witnessing classic feuds that I remember to this day.

Today, we look back at the Top 7 WCW Feuds of all-time. In case you’re wondering, I put the cut-off somewhere around the time WCW became the official name of the promotion & the NWA letters were phased out. Ric Flair’s feuds with Dusty Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat definitely merit consideration of any discussion of top feuds, but those peaked during the Jim Crockett Promotions era, before WCW became the official name of the company.

7. WCW vs. NWO

Scott Hall & Kevin Nash making the move to WCW in 1996 was going to be a big deal no matter what. The way they did it made it the biggest deal in pro wrestling. Hall & Nash were portrayed as outsiders, coming in to destroy the company and rebuild wrestling in their own image. The New World Order produced some of the most compelling television in wrestling history, and their bad blood with WCW’s wrestlers became legendary.

This would rank higher on the list if not for the last couple of years where the plot was lost.

6. Cactus Jack vs. Vader

Cactus had gotten some attention from the hardcore wrestling fans by the time he had his first match with Vader on WCW Main Event, but getting a countout win over the WCW Champion on television was easily his biggest victory to date. It was also one of his biggest butt-kickings to date, which would become a trend. The rematch on Saturday Night resulted in Vader powerbombing Jack on the concrete floor, and back in 1993 that meant you were carried off on a stretcher and out of action for months. It also meant Jack got amnesia and moved to Cleveland, and the less we say about that the better.

Eventually Jack returned and got another shot at Vader at Halloween Havoc. Vader won that match, and both men moved on to other things for the most part. Oh, wait, there was also the time Jack lost an ear during a match with Vader in Germany in 1994. WCW somehow managed not to follow up on that at all, but it did lead to one of the greatest openings to an auto-biography of all time, Foley’s description of the incident in “Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood & Sweat Socks”.

5. Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko

Jericho has always had a knack for getting under peoples’ skin, and he sure got to Malenko in 1998. Dean was known as “The Man of 1,000 Holds”, but Jericho claimed that he knew four more. Malenko’s frustration at being unable to best Jericho in the ring culminated in him going “home” after another loss to Jericho at Uncensored 1998. Jericho spent the next couple of months endlessly taunting Malenko, figuring that he had forced Dean into retirement. Malenko would return at Slamboree, donning Cicolpe’s mask & costume in a battle royal setting up a Cruiserweight title defense for Jericho. Jericho was dismayed, and the crowd went crazy for Malenko’s return.

The feud would continue through the summer of 1998, with Malenko briefly getting fired after interfering in Jericho’s matches. Malenko would get the last laugh though, as he returned as a special guest referee for Jericho’s match with Juventud Guerrera at Road Wild. Guerrera shockingly won the match. Dean Malenko’s charisma was the subject of criticism back in the day, but this feud showed how he could be a vastly popular star.

4. Booker T vs. Chris Benoit

One of the NWA’s biggest feuds during the 1980s involved a best of seven series between Magnum TA & Nikita Koloff for the US Championship. Booker & Benoit would have a series of their own, where the winner would get a WCW TV Title match with Fit Finlay. Benoit & Booker had previously traded the title with each other, so even though the booking was a little sketchy, it was still something worth looking forward to for the matches.

The matches definitely stood out. They helped establish Booker as a singles star while further raising Benoit’s status among hardcore fans. Booker won the series and the TV Championship from Finlay, which wasn’t exactly surprising at the time.

3. Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage

Many thought that DDP would join the NWO due to his friendships with Scott Hall & Kevin Nash. Page opted to stay loyal to WCW, and wound up being one of the NWO’s biggest rivals. It was a spot that had been previously occupied by Savage, who opted to join the group after getting beaten by them for months on end. Miss Elizabeth & Kimberly became involved in the feud when Randy & Liz decided it would be a good idea to publicly reveal that Page & Kimberly, who was leader of the Nitro Girls at the time, were married. The two faced off in a no disqualification match at Spring Stampede 1997, with Page getting the win in what many considered an upset. Savage would emerge victorious at the Great American Bash in another anything goes match, with the help of Scott Hall. Their final battle would take place at Halloween Havoc, where Savage would get the win with the help of Hollywood Hogan.

Savage got more wins in the feud, but DDP was established as a tough guy that didn’t mind fighting everybody in the world. It brought him up to another level and was key in making him a name we still fondly remember today.

2. Sting vs. Vader

Sting had finally established himself as WCW’s undisputed top star in 1992. Without Ric Flair or Lex Luger to challenge him, it got a little lonely on the top until a monster came along and knocked Sting off his perch. Big Van Vader took WCW by storm, destroying everybody in his path towards beating Sting for the world championship. He had no problem handling Sting at 1992’s Great American Bash, but this was just the beginning of their issues. Sting defeated Vader at Starrcade 1992 in the King of Cable tournament final, but Vader won the WCW championship back from Ron Simmons days later & defended it against Sting at SuperBrawl III. They traded the title back & forth during a European tour the next month & faced off in various tag team matches for most of the rest of 1993. Sting beat Vader at Slamboree 1994 in their last major match with each other.

They had great chemistry. Vader was tremendous at beating the crap out of people, and Sting excelled at getting sympathy out of crowds. Every time they met was a hoot.

1. Sting vs. Ric Flair

The feud that defined WCW from beginning until end. Flair was the symbol of the old NWA, the perennial champion that the company always went back to no matter how many times they pushed him aside for a flavor of the month. Sting was one of those men they tried to push Flair aside for, and the one that stuck the longest.

They faced off at the first Clash of the Champions and went to a 45-minute draw in a match that made Sting a household name with wrestling fans. From that moment on, they were linked together. 1989 saw Sting & Flair become friends and Sting briefly join the 4 Horsemen. Of course, that didn’t end well, but Sting got his first world championship victory over Flair at 1990’s Great American Bash. Flair would take the championship back in January 1991, and would leave WCW for eighteen months. The fans missed him terribly, and he had little choice but to be a good guy friendly with Sting again in 1993. Once Hulk Hogan arrived, Flair slid back into his usual heel role and back into his rivalry with Sting. Then Sting was silly enough to team with Flair in 1995 when the Naitch was having issues with Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman. Everybody knew how that would end. They were on the same side of the WCW/NWO divide for most of that era, but they were never particularly close. Sting had to intervene when Flair’s tenure as WCW President led to him being corrupted by the power.

Sting & Flair had a match on the first edition of WCW Monday Nitro, and they were in the final match of the final edition of Nitro. You can’t talk about WCW without mentioning either one.

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WCW, Steve Cook