NWA/WCW WrestleWar 1990 Review (Flair vs. Luger)

Welcome everyone to my review of WrestleWar 1990, featuring a Flair/Luger main-event title match and much more.

Here is the list of champions in the NWA heading into this show:

  • NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair
  • NWA United States Champion: Lex Luger
  • NWA World TV Champion: Arn Anderson
  • NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Steiners (Rick & Scott Steiner)
  • NWA United States Tag Team Champions: Brian Pillman & The Z-Man

Enjoy the review!

WCW WrestleWar 1990 | Results - WCW PPV Event History | Pay Per Views &  Special Events | Pro Wrestling Events Database
IMG credit: WWE Network
The Dynamic Dudes (Johnny Ace & Shane Douglas) vs. Kevin Sullivan & Buzz Sawyer
WCW WrestleWar '90 Wild Thing Kevin Sullivan Buzz Sawyer vs. The Dynamic  Dudes - YouTube
IMG credit: WWE

Sawyer grabs a headlock on Ace to start, but Johnny uses people power to dump Sawyer with a dropkick followed by a dive. It’s sad how the crowd is just not into the Dynamic Dudes as babyfaces. Back in with the Dudes still in control, so Sawyer and Sullivan take a second to hit each other for motivation. Well, I’ve seen crazier things! This actually works as Sawyer takes over and pounds away in the corner only to miss a charge and eat the buckle. Douglas goes to work on the arm but Sullivan dumps him and Sawyer suplexes him on the floor. Buzz throws him back in for a belly to belly that gets two. Side suplex gets two more. Sawyer works in a bearhug, breaks the hold to knock Johnny off the apron to prevent the tag, and then tags Sullivan in for his own bearhug. Douglas ends up fighting back once and for all and makes the “hot” tag to Johnny. Johnny comes in running wild on both heels with dropkicks and a BAD flying headscissors. Sawyer catches him with a suplex and goes up top for a flying splash for the win at 10:15.

  • Rating: Weird choice for the opener. The match was watchable, but it was just way too long for what it was, and the fact that the Dudes are not over at all didn’t help. Not horrible or even bad, just skippable. *1/2
Cactus Jack Manson vs. Norman the Lunatic
Cactus Jack Manson V Norman NWA... - Old School Wrestling
IMG credit: WWE

Cactus chokes away to start and quickly hits an elbow for two. Norman turns things arounds shortly afterwards with a clothesline and puts Foley in a bearhug. Cactus fights back but goes nowhere and eats a Norman avalanche in the corner. Foley goes flying over the top to the outside off a Norman irish whip, and then takes a crazy back bump over the rail onto the concrete floor near the crowd. Because he’s Mick Foley, he’s nuts and he’ll do whatever just to get over. Bless you Mick, but you really are insane. Foley comes back in and manages to send Norman into the post, followed by a dropkick. Cactus bites away back inside before headbutting Norman for two. Foley chokes away and goes to a chinlock. Cactus goes for a piledriver but it misses because Norman is too fat, and then just to make sure we really get that point across, Norman just drops his ass right on poor Foley’s face for the pin at 9:33.

  • Rating: This wasn’t bad mostly due to Mick Foley trying everything and anything to get over. I’m not a big fan of the “he’s fat” finish, and the result is also questionable, but it was okay otherwise. *3/4
The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane)(w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
The Rock 'n' Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express: Wrestle War 1990 | WWE
IMG credit: WWE

Lane and Gibson get things going for each team. Gibson starts off with an armdrag so Lane responds with a hiptoss. Lane goes for a leapfrog but Gibson easily reverses, which gets the heels all worked up and Cornette gets in to challenge referee Nick Patrick for a fight! Patrick accepts but then Corny just runs away and falls on his ass leaving the ring. I watched this show with five or six people from the SmarkDown discord server and we were all laughing so hard at this. Cornette was hilarious as a heel manager! Morton catches Eaton with an armdrag but Cornette trips Morton from the outside. That draws Ricky Morton to the floor to get into a tug-of-war with Corny, which ends with Cornette falling on his ass yet again and the babyfaces ramming the Midnight Express into each other with a classic double noggin knocker. Rock ‘n’ Roll follow that up with a double clothesline on Eaton back inside.

Ricky Morton come in and Lane goes after him, but Morton turns that around and sends Lane into the buckle instead. A Morton bodypress on Eaton sends both guys to the floor but the illegal Lane comes in with a slam on the floor. Eaton gets a backbreaker back inside and choking follows on the ropes, with Cornette adding a racket shot to Morton’s throat. And shockingly Ricky Morton finds himself playing… Ricky Morton! A double-elbowdrop by the Midnights gets two. Lane powerslam gets two more. Meanwhile Eaton draws Gibson in and allows that ref distraction to send Morton into the railing as the poor guy just continues to get beat like a drum. Morton manages to roll through into a sunset flip back inside, but Cornette quickly grabs the referee for a chat so he misses the pin. Morton turns the sunset flip into a regular roll-up, only for Eaton to come up behind him with a neckbreaker. Really nice!

Morton tries to fight but gets quickly sent into the turnbuckle arm-first. The Midnights go to work on the arm from there, whipping Morton’s arm into the buckle some more and slamming him right on his arm. Flying elbow by Eaton gets a nearfall. Eaton works a Divorce Court into a hammerlock in a really smooth transition. Morton manages to escape, but Lane quickly meets him there with a slam to prevent the hot tag. They go for the Rocket Launcher, but miss and heeeeeeeere’s Gibson! And the crowd goes crazy!! Gibson comes in running wild and eventually gets a hot nearfall with a sunset flip on Eaton, but then everyone comes inside for a brawl as IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA! That distracts the referee and allows Cornette to sneak in a nasty shot with the racket to Gibson. Eaton tries to steal the win but Gibson kicks out at two for a fantastic false finish. The heels go for a double flapjack, but Morton (being Ricky Morton!) sacrifices his own body to stop that while Gibson blocks it by rolling through into a cradle for the Rock ‘n’ Roll win at 19:31.

  • Rating: Absolutely incredible. Intelligent, great and smooth work between arguably the two teams with the most chemistry in the entire history of tag team wrestling. Cornette was his usual great self by being able to constantly get heat for the heels while making an idiot out of himself at the very same time. He was just the perfect chickenshit heel manager, especially working with the Midnights. Great great match, highly recommended. ****
Tag Team Chicago Street Fight: Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal)(w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The Skyscrapers (Mean Mark Callous & ‘The Masked Skyscraper)(w/ Theodore Long)
Classic Wrestling Review: WrestleWar '90 | CXF | Culture Crossfire |
IMG credit: WWE

Danny Spivey got injured and is replaced by ‘The Masked Skyscraper’, played by Mike Enos. The Road Warriors come out in street clothes for a street fight in a really nice touch. They all go at it to start with Hawk using the ropes to choke Masked. The recently unmasked Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed) come out to watch the action, as the Road Warriors clean house. The Skyscrapers choke away on the LOD, but they turn things around and finish Masked with the Doomsday Device in short order at 4:59. Doom go at it with the LOD to close the segment.

  • Rating: Uh, that was it? So we saw a massive heel beatdown angle by the Skyscrapers on the Road Warriors at the prior edition of Clash, even including rare chair shots to the head, only for LOD to win a street fight at the PPV in less than five minutes? Okay then. 3/4*
NWA US Tag Team Championship: Flyin’ Brian & The Z-Man(c) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin)
International Object: NWA United States Tag Team Champions (1990)
IMG credit: WWE

As I always say in their matches, I will call Flyin’ Brian “Brian Pillman” and The Z-Man “Tom Zenk” because it’s much easier for me and for you. The Freebirds take their time getting inside the ring as usual, so the babyfaces beat them up, steal their gears and mock their ‘Badstreet USA’ dance. That was nice. Mucho stalling from the Freebirds follows. They take their time locking up, with Hayes constantly running away from the action. Off to Garvin as the champs are finally able to get their hands on the heels, with Zenk hitting a number of quick dropkicks before he eventually misses one. Both wrestlers tag in their respective partners with Pillman going to work on Hayes’ arm. Back to Zenk for an armbar as the arm work continues for a while. This is all solid and all, but it’s also very boring. Pillman hiptosses Garvin and in comes Hayes with a flying bodypress that Brian rolls through for two. A double-team elbow by the Freebirds turns things around, though. A Pillman hope spot goes nowhere as this match just won’t end, and Pillman brings in Zenk for the hot tag. That ends up going nowhere as well, as Hayes catches him and sends him into the post to cut off the comeback. And in comes Garvin to work… a chinlock. Oh come on now.

Hayes comes in off the tag for a chinlock of his own, with Zenk reversing with a roll-through for two. That comeback ends up going anywhere as well, and the Freebirds go back to working chinlocks… Zenk fights back but eats buckle on a blind charge, and Hayes drops an elbow for two. Off to Garvin to stomp away and back in comes Hayes for a bulldog, with Pillman breaking up the pinfall. Freebirds go back to the chinlocks. I can tell this match can’t end via submission, because I tapped out a few minutes ago and this just won’t end. Pillman comes in off ANOTHER hot tag with a number of dropkicks and about a minute later Pillman ends the pain with a flying bodypress at a WHOOPIN’ 24:32.

  • Rating: Technically fine, but good lord this would even put a horse on 10 energy pills and 27 Red Bulls to sleep. Fine but super boring and ridiculously long. **
NWA World Tag Team Championship: The Steiners (Rick & Scott Steiner)(c) vs. The Andersons (Arn & Ole Anderson)
The Steiner Brothers vs. Arn & Ole Anderson - WCW Tag Team Championship: WrestleWar  1990 | WWE
IMG credit:

The heel challengers play mind games to start, particularly Arn, but the Steiners beat them up anyway and clean house. And the crowd is way into the champs. Ole comes in to take on Rick but loses a slugfest and bails. Off to Arn for a leapfrog that Rick brilliantly counters and turns into a powerslam in mid-air, and AA bails. Back in with Arn dropping a knee on Rick and going up, only for Rick to meet him there and bring him back down the hard way. In comes Scott with an atomic drop into a figure four that Ole comes in to break up. Scott hits a belly to belly instead and follows that up with a kneedrop for two. Both guys tag in their partners with Ole making the mistake of ramming Rick’s face in the buckle, which Rick no-sells, but Ole knees him in the midsection and that gives the heels the edge anyway. Scott comes in only to find himself playing Ricky Morton in short order, with the Andersons sending Scott arm-first into the post and the barricade on the outside. Back in for an Arn hammerlock slam right on the injured arm (NICE!) followed by a vicious kneedrop to the arm. Arn goes for the kill but eats the Frankesteiner for a huge pop and in comes Rick off the hot tag. Ole comes in as well and tries to cut off the hot tag, but Rick surprises him with an inside cradle for the pin to retain the belts at 16:05.

  • Rating: Usual fun and hot Steiners match. Arn was feeling it and put on a great performance, as for Ole… not so much. I don’t know if he wasn’t motivated or what, but he just wasn’t putting any effort or energy like I’ve seen him do before. Scott did very good in selling for the heels while playing the team’s Ricky Morton, and Rick was a great hot tag guy like always. Solid match, but man Ole’s sort of half-assed performance here made me miss Arn’s chemistry with Tully Blanchard. Really solid match regardless. ***1/4
Main-Event – NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair(c)(w/ Woman) vs. Lex Luger
WrestleWar '90 - Wild Thing | The Casual Geekery
IMG credit: WWE

Sting was originally Flair’s challenger in this match, but he got seriously injured and was thus replaced by the US Champion Luger. Sting shows up in crutches before the match. An early lockup is won by Luger with authority, and Flair complains with the ref about some hair pulling. Another one is obviously won by Luger yet again, and a shoulderblock sends Flair out for a breather. Back in for another lockup into a Luger clothesline. Flair has had enough and actually walks away, but Luger follows him and brings him back to the ring the hard way. Flair tries to turn things around with a necksnap on the top rope, but Luger no-sells that like an absolute monster and gets a crazy babyface reaction while Flair begs for mercy. Great stuff! Luger proceeds to press slam Flair and then no-sells Flair’s chops. Another press slam just to make sure Flair knows he has him. Flair tries to go after the eyes but not even that takes him anywhere, with Luger beating him up in the corner. Flair flop and he goes down, back up into a Luger hiptoss who tries to follow with a clothesline, but Flair blocks and Luger takes a bump to the floor. And for the first time the champ’s in the driver seat.

Flair goes to work by bringing the chops and running Luger into the rail. Back in for the classic Flair kneedrop. Another kneedrop, this one dedicated to Woman, gets two. They get into a slugfest which is won by Lex only for him to miss a blind charge, with Flair going to work on Luger’s arm – that has been a trend on this show. Luger ends up escaping though, and whips Flair into the buckle for a Flair flip to the outside. Luger follows Flair and brings him back in, working on a sleeper. Luger suplex before ramming Flair’s leg into the post. That sets up a Luger figure four (uh oh!) but Flair chops his way out of it. Luger hits a powerslam instead for two. Luger no-sells a couple more chops, so Flair runs the ropes for a rare flying forearm with authority… and it’s Flair who goes down off the impact! And the crowd comes alive!

They go outside for a while before coming back in for a Luger backslide that gets two. Flair catches him with the atomic drop right on Luger’s leg. You know what that means – time to take him to school, WOOOOOOO! A couple of flying doubles axehandles give Flair two. Luger manages to hit a clothesline for two in spite of the pain, so Flair gets really pissed and viciously attacks Luger’s leg. He drops the knee on the leg and locks in the figure four, complete with illegal assistance from the ropes. Sting makes his way down to ringside and tries to get Luger all fired up, including a slap to motivate him. That apparently works and gets Lex all worked up to set up the big comeback, and Flair wants noooo part of that – “nope sir, I’m out”! Luger slams Flair, who goes up only to get slammed off. Luger runs wild with the series of clotheslines while Flair tries to run for his life but just can’t escape. Luger hits a suplex followed by a powerslam to set up the Torture Rack. Luger locks it in but we get a ref bump. Cue the Horsemen (the Andersons) to confront Sting at ringside. The referee is starting to come back to life, at which point the Andersons grab Sting and force Luger to make a decision. Luger breaks the hold and decides to help the vulnerable Stinger, eventually being counted-out at 38:08.

  • Rating: What an awesome match. This was so great. Flair put Luger over here as a legit badass and a threat to his title, knowing exactly when to be the chickensh*t weasel champion and when to turn it on. Brilliant match. I can forgive them for the (weak) finish, as Luger was a substitute to the injured Sting and they wanted to keep the belt on Flair while also not giving Luger a decisive loss. The awesome action before the finish is way more memorable than the flat finish. Great main-event and an early match of the year contender already between two of the very best in the industry at the time. ****1/2


Final thoughts: This is a weird one to rate. There’s some bad stuff in here, but what is good is REALLY good. I would certainly recommend Flair/Luger and Midnights/RNR, and Steiners/Andersons if you wanna make it three. I think the good outweighs the bad, but it wasn’t on the level of any of NWA’s pay-per-views from the prior year. Still a good show. 6/10


You can check out how my point system works here.

WrestlerStar ratingsResultMain-eventingExtrasTotal
Ric Flair4.50.511 for retaining a title7
Rick Steiner3.2511 for retaining a title
0.5 for winning the fall
Robert Gibson410.5 for winning the fall5.5
Scott Steiner3.2511 for retaining a title5.25
Lex Luger4.5-0.515
Ricky Morton415
Flyin Brian211 for retaining a title
0.5 for winning the fall
The Z-Man211 for retaining a title4
Stan Lane4-13
Buzz Sawyer1.510.5 for winning the fall3
Norman the Lunatic1.7512.75
Bobby Eaton4-1-0.5 for losing the fall2.5
Kevin Sullivan1.512.5
Hawk0.7510.5 for winning the fall2.25
Michael Hayes2-11
Cactus Jack Manson1.75-10.75
Jimmy Garvin2-1-0.5 for losing the fall0.5
Shane Douglas1.5-10.5
Johnny Ace1.5-1-0.5 for losing the fall0
Mean Mark Callous0.75-1-0.25
Masked Skyscraper0.75-1-0.5 for losing the fall-0.75

That’s all from WrestleWar 90. As always, thank you so much for reading! Don’t miss the next article, as I review WWF’s WrestleMania VI. Stay safe!