WCW has a checkered reputation, and that’s particularly the case for the shows it put on from the mid-1990s to 2001. On one hand, they were notorious for schmoz finishes, building up confrontations they wouldn’t fully deliver on, and booking swerves for the sake of having surprises on the show.
On the other hand, the company did have one of the deepest talent rosters in history, particularly in terms of having marquee names that were, had been, or would one day become main event stars.
As a result, WCW, in that era staged a number of bookings that would, by today’s standards, be considered dream matches. This article takes a look back at ten dream matches most fans have forgotten took place in WCW.
10 Randy Savage Vs. Steve Austin
The idea of The Macho Man Randy Savage and Stone Cold Steve Austin duking it out feels like either an intergenerational or inter-promotional dream match. After all, Savage peaked in the late 1980s as an icon of the original Hulkamania era, distinctly ahead of Austin’s signature Attitude Era. From there, Stone Cold’s pinnacle came when Savage was riding out the final dredges of his physical prime as a featured player for WCW.
However, these two did cross paths early in Savage’s WCW tenure and Austin’s final days with the promotion. The writing was on the wall that guys like Stunning Steve, who had been working their way up the card, were likely not going to reach the mountain top as the company shifted directions to feature former WWE stars. Before Austin was let go altogether, he quietly put over Savage in a sub-five-minute free TV match.
9 Hulk Hogan Vs. Kevin Nash
Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash are best remembered for their work as partners when they were charter members of the New World Order. The angle caught fire, so the two became inextricably linked in wrestling history. As is so often the case, however, a wrestler partnership eventually transformed into a rivalry. Yes, the two wrestlers technically had a match on Nitro that resulted in the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom, with Nash gifting Hogan the world title. They also had a more proper, featured PPV match, though.
The scene was Road Wild 1999, with Hogan and Nash main eventing. Hogan returned to his red and yellow colors to play his old school face character in a very traditional match, complete with Hogan hulking up after taking some punishment to score the pin.
8 Sting Vs. The Undertaker
Sting versus The Undertaker goes down as one of the great dream matches that never happened. Sting was a stalwart WCW guy for the entire history of the company; The Undertaker was one of the few top WWE guys who never defected to WCW during the Monday Night War. The idea of the two of them going head to head therefore felt special, particularly after Sting’s dark turn to a Crow theme made the characters more similar.
This match actually did happen, just long before anyone knew to make a big deal out of it. One of The Undertaker’s final matches before taking on the gimmick that would make him a legend saw him wrestle as Mean Mark Callous, and battle Sting on WCW television.
7 Ricky Steamboat Vs. Triple H
Ricky Steamboat is widely regarded as one of the greatest in-ring performers in wrestling history, particularly for his late 1980s work opposite Randy Savage over the WWE Intercontinental Championship and Ric Flair over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On the other side of things, Triple H became a breakout star of the late 1990s, before arriving as a gold standard in-ring technician in the early 2000s.
Steamboat is the kind of talent wrestling lost too soon, on account of back issues and commitment to his family taking him out of the spotlight after a relatively short time on top. Conversely, Triple H is notable for his longevity, enjoying about two decades as a full-time performer, and remaining a part-time special attraction (while working as an executive) for a decade and counting. Late in Steamboat’s prime and just as Helmsley was coming of age, though, the two crossed paths in a WCW Saturday Night match that aired during September 1994.
6 Bret Hart Vs. Randy Savage
Randy Savage is generally viewed as a star of the generation before Bret Hart rose to the top in WWE. The Macho Man was working world title matches while Hart was in the tag team and then Intercontinental Championship picture. From there, much of Hart’s time as a main event level star in WWE ran opposite Savage working in WCW.
When both men were in WCW, however, they did cross paths more than once. Perhaps most notably, they worked a match at Slamboree 1998, with the added sizzle of Roddy Piper working as the guest referee. This pairing is a perfect example of just how loaded WCW was with marquee stars at this point in its history, that a wrestling match between two icons of this magnitude was largely forgotten.
5 The Big Show Vs. Kevin Greene
The Big Show versus Kevin Greene is by no means a conventional dream match, particularly given that Green was never a full-time wrestler but rather best known as an NFL star. However, it was in some ways a precursor to Show’s confrontations with other celebrities like Floyd Mayweather and Shaquille O’neal down the road. Greene worked multiple shots for WCW before his football team ushered him away from sports entertainment, lest their big investment gets injured far away from a football field.
Greene’s peak in wrestling came in a one on one match with The Big Show - then known as The Giant - at Bash at the Beach 1998. The match is noteworthy for how respectable it was in terms of in-ring action. As discussed at length by Eric Bischoff on the 83 Weeks podcast, Show was still relatively new to wrestling at that point and not necessarily equipped to carry a celebrity visitor to a good match. Greene’s hard work and athleticism allowed him to more than hold his own and deliver a match that exceeded expectations.
4 Lex Luger & Sting Vs. The Road Warriors
Lex Luger and Sting were something like WCW’s answer to the Mega Powers; on and off tag team partners and opponents, and in either case, working around the top of the card. They famously worked a classic with The Steiner Brothers at Super Brawl I, but it would be years later that the musclebound duo would meet another of the most iconic tag teams of the era: The Road Warriors.
Luger and Sting defended their tag titles against Animal and Hawk in a Chicago Street Fight at Uncensored 1996. The story going into the bout was fun to boot, with Luger edging heel and running his mouth - against the better judgment of Sting - to talk his team into the undesirable match.
3 Madusa Vs. Sherri Martel
Madusa and Sherri Martel share the distinction of being two of the very best, most complete female wrestlers during an era when American wrestling didn’t pay women’s wrestling any mind. The two clashed in the old days of the AWA but would do so again in WCW in early 1996.
The match was predicated on a silly angle after Madusa interrupted Martel’s kayfabe wedding with Colonel Robert Parker. The battle itself was solid, if too short. Martel was past her prime by that point and WCW didn’t seem to have much clear direction for Madusa, beyond reprising her issue with Bull Nakano from WWE.
2 Rey Mysterio Vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Rey Mysterio and Bam Bam Bigelow don’t have a ton in common. Mysterio is known as a speedy, high flying cruiserweight whose supreme talent allowed him to transcend his size and his status as a masked luchador to become a US wrestling legend. Bigelow got over as a surprisingly agile super heavyweight, who had his heyday in wrestling before Mysterio made it to the big time.
These unlikely opponents crossed paths in WCW in 1999. Mysterio picked up the win while gaining momentum as a “giant killer” en route to a showdown with Kevin Nash.
1 Roddy Piper & Randy Savage Vs. Hulk Hogan & Bret Hart
When it comes to naming the biggest, most important stars from the first decade Vince McMahon ran WWE, there are few names that can really compare to Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, and Bret Hart. These main event players all made their way to WCW in the 1990s, Hart last of all, following the Montreal Screwjob. Though it’s hard to argue any of them were in their prime in summer 1998, they nonetheless could still perform at a reasonable level, leading to a tag team match at the Great American Bash with unparalleled star power.
In hindsight, Hart and Piper feel like a more natural pairing, whereas The Mega Powers might have faced off against them in a match that would have made more sense given the bigger picture provided by history. Just the same, it’s a match with remarkable marquee value that didn’t even close the show. That distinction went to Sting vs. The Giant.