WCW never seemed to be the high end product that I always saw the WWF as. This was probably due to the fact that I started getting into wrestling at the point when WCW was on the way down. The only episode of WCW that I ever saw was the last one which happened to be advertised on Monday Night Raw the whole week leading up to it because it was going to be a simulcast. At the time it seemed peculiar to me because I had no idea that the WWF had bought out WCW. What I saw in class the last few classes was completely different from what I saw that episode. The better lit arenas and the high class atmosphere was present in those videos. That last episode had none of that. The ring was outside and I felt like there were very little people watching. It seemed so second rate at that point. The old WCW had a clear ambience that was driven by the idea that this promotion was about the sport and competition first and foremost. Story and character came later. And this was further exemplified for me by the appearance of Lou Thesz as a guest judge for the Rick Flair vs Ricky Steamboat match. It seems ironic though that WCW would reach its highest level of success due to the addition of colorful characters like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage.
The match between Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat and Rick Flair really showed what a classic match was all about. This was not a one sided match. There were points where the match would get one sided with one man taking control but it never seemed like you know for sure who was in control and in the driver’s seat. The thing that surprised me about this match was the pace. Think that is one of the things that sets the match apart from other pay per view matches that would last this long. The wrestlers never let up and continued to pound at each other and throw each other around the ring. Other matches that would last as long as that did might be of a slower pace. Either lots of grappling or lots of down time where there would be a big clash and someone would go down for a while. It is a good match because there was not controversial finish and there was no disqualification or count out. The people got a conclusion to this championship match. I can’t really say that it was the greatest match of the decade or anything like that. I have seen great things that made me jump out of my seat more but it really does fill out that idea that the NWA was trying to convey to the people of athletic matches that were serious competitions.