16. WrestleWar 1991
The year 1991 was not a banner year for WCW. The controversial exit of Ric Flair in July had immediate damage, and that year’s Great American Bash suffered as a result of the ugly split. Halloween Havoc and Starrcade were both lacklustre shows, and horrid characters (Oz, Big Josh, The Patriots, Arachnaman) dotted the deteriorating landscape. Really, all WCW had going for it that year were Rick Rude’s debut, Ricky Steamboat’s return, and a pair of quality major events, this being one of them.
The War Games main event is tremendous as the gimmick ever has been, and if you can get past Brian Pillman nearly dying a death on a finish, then it’s worth multiple looks. It’s a night of top-notch brawling, as matches like Vader vs. Stan Hansen, US Champion Lex Luger vs. Dan Spivey, and a no-DQ bout pitting Tom Zenk against Terry Taylor put WrestleWar in high company. If only the rest of the year could’ve been on this level.
15. Halloween Havoc 1989
This would be the very first Halloween Havoc ever, as well as the first wrestling pay per view to ever take place in Philadelphia. If ever WWE was going to mine something from WCW’s sunken wreckage, I wish it’d be the Havoc gimmick, since Halloween never goes out of style. Just leave the Chamber of Horrors and The Yeti in that waterlogged galleon if you could.
But 1989 featured no such drek, as the main event was a fantastic “Thundercage” cage match that pitted Ric Flair and Sting against Terry Funk and The Great Muta, with Bruno Sammartino as guest referee. The electrified cage gimmick wasn’t all that special, but the warring within compensated greatly. Matching the intensity was a frenetic Lex Luger-Brian Pillman US title match that barely stops to catch its breath. The Philly crowds adds a lot to a show that is more steak than sizzle.