20. World War 3 1995
If you’ve never seen World War 3 before, picture this overly-ambitious concept: three rings would be set up in something akin to a V-pattern, and 60 men would compete in a Battle Royal across those three rings. WCW ran four events with this gimmick, and the best by far was the original incarnation. This particular version was for the vacated WCW Championship, which Macho Man Randy Savage would win under dubious circumstances.
The battle royal itself was kind of a mess, but the undercard is what gave this show its special flavour. Sting and Ric Flair’s hate-filled battle was a tremendous semi-main, while the other singles title bouts (DDP vs. Johnny B Badd for the TV title, Kensuke Sasaki vs. Chris Benoit for the US) piled on the goodness. There was even a match pitting Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto against Mayumi Ozaki and Cutie Suzuki that thrilled long before Stephanie McMahon invented women’s wrestling.
19. Great American Bash 1990
Mostly, the 1990 GAB is remembered for what it should be remembered for: the satisfying ending, in which Sting defeats Ric Flair to capture the then-NWA World Heavyweight title, more than two years after his star-making performance against “The Nature Boy” on the inaugural Clash of the Champions. Seems 1990 was The Year of the Face-Painted World Champion…
The best match of the night was an incredible bout for the US Tag Team titles pitting The Midnight Express and The Southern Boys, in what would essentially be the last hurrah for the Bobby Eaton/Stan Lane version of the team. Speaking of bow-outs, “Mean” Mark Callous lost a mostly-good United States title match against champion Lex Luger, shortly before Callous crossed over, well, into the dark side.