10         PPV POSTERS

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT

As the de facto number two wrestling company for most of their existence, it became an accepted fact that WCW wasn't going to have glitzier, better-produced shows than their WWF counterparts. While the wrestling was sometimes comparable, it usually seemed to lack the "big fight" feel Vince McMahon conjured up for, say, WrestleMania or SummerSlam.

 

But the pay-per-view posters WCW produced on a monthly basis (seen in their in-house magazine as well as through PPV providers) were quite artistic. Some were great, some were terrible, but all of them were quite memorable...

1) Hallowe'en Havoc 1999

 

What the hell is that supposed to be? A vampire? A wolfman? Kevin Nash after a few too many at the bar?

 

Look, I get that Hallowe'en Havoc was supposed to be a scarier PPV, and thus they needed something a little different. But (and as we'll see with several of those posters), this had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the main event.... or anyone else on the show! History shows us that the main event of this show was Goldberg vs. Sting for the WCW World Championship. Manimal was nowhere to be found.

2) The Great American Bash 2000 

 

This one is almost as scary as the wolfman picture! Whose idea was it to have Hulk Hogan, Sid Vicious and Vampiro illustrated by the guy who draws for Cracked magazine?

 

The theme of this particular event was "A Battle Of Heroic Proportions", yet Vampiro (described as the "Mysterious Shadow Warrior") was clearly a heel in his Human Torch match Sting, while Sid Vicious ("Master and Ruler of the World") wasn't even on the card. Hulk Hogan ("The All American Hero") did take on Billy Kidman, but was hardly portrayed as a Real American for that match, brother.

3) Spring Stampede 1998

 

What?!? Come on now. This really has nothing to do with the show... just a generic picture for a generic-sounding PPV. I'm calling bulls.... well, you know.... on this one.

 

Look, I realize that WCW may have not been able to plan exactly which stars were appearing on the show months in advance when they were making up the poster, but they know some of the main guys on their roster. This just reeks of some marketing executive throwing an ad together.

 

I mean, the main event was Sting vs. Randy Savage for the WCW Title. They couldn't have put one of those guys on the poster instead of Mantaur?

4) Hallowe'en Havoc 1990

 

Back in the day, I used to hate this particular poster, but it's actually pretty good.

 

For one thing, they actually got the main event right, as WCW Champion Sting was defending against Sid Vicious (who is being energized, Frankenstein-like, by the other members of The Four Horsemen).

 

On top of that, Sting's facepaint is in the shape of a freaking bat, and that alone earns high marks from me. Sure, the artwork (especially on Barry Windham) isn't the best, but for a PPV poster in 1990, I'm going to say this was "hang on your wall" worthy.

5) Mayhem 2000

 

Another PPV poster that just.... nails it. For one thing, the image is RIDICULOUSLY faithful to the show itself, as the main event of Mayhem that year was Scott Steiner vs. Booker T in a straitjacket steel cage match. So full points there.

 

For another thing, the photographer managed to really capture the essence of Big Poppa Pump here, as he's wearing said straitjacket, clearly pissed off with the world, and boucing around an asylum-style room.

 

Lastly, the poster prominently featured Steiner's valet Midajah in a skimpy nurse outfit.... which is never a bad thing.

6) Fall Brawl 1995

 

What. The. Hell???

 

This looks more like something from DeviantArt than a legitimate poster trying to sell someone on a wrestling event. It just looks... scary, you know? And this isn't even an ad for Hallowe'en Havoc!

 

Now, my best guess is that the four faces represented in this puzzle are (from top to bottom), Ric Flair, Sting, Nasty Boy Saggs and Big Van Vader. And guess what, Sparky? NOT ONE OF THOSE GUYS was featured in the main-event War Games match that this was poster was supposedly advertising. Not one!

7) Hallowe'en Havoc 1992

Another instance where WCW accurately predicted the main event ahead of time, as Sting battled Jake "The Snake" Roberts in the infamous Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal match. 

 

And yet... why would Sting agree to pose for this poster, what with dangerous snakes slithering around him and everything? I can only imagine the conversation that took place between the photographer and The Stinger.

 

Photographer: See that dangerous looking table over there with the bloody axe and mace on it? We need you to lie down on it.

Sting: Ok.

Photographer: And we're going to set four snakes on top of it, too.

Sting: No way, man! That puts my safety in danger!

Photographer: Do you want us to draw you with the bat facepaint again?
Sting: .... I'll be good.

8) SuperBrawl 2000

 

I'm not trying to be racist. Really, I'm not.

 

But (just from knowing the WCW roster at the time of this PPV), the only person this could be is Booker T.  It could be him, right? He even had that hairstyle around this time.

 

So why is Book trying to make out with the World Championship title in outer space?

 

I would say that he's pursuing the belt, which would fit in nicely with the "Hold the Gold" catchphrase of SuperBrawl that year... but Booker T wasn't anywhere near that championship at the time. The main event was, in fact, Sid Vicious vs. Scott Hall vs. Jeff Jarrett. Booker T was way down the card, losing his surname "T" to the likes of Big T (a/k/a Ahmed Johnson). So it's not like they had huge plans for the guy at the time. So strange....

9) The Great American Bash 1996

 

Talk about your turning points.

 

According to this poster, WCW really has nothing to do with wrestling. Instead, its main attractions are two hilarious barbeque chefs. See Bobby The Brain Heenan accidentally setting himself on fire? Isn't that hilarious? And what about Mean Gene Okerlund getting ready to grill up some WCW-shaped hamburgers? Too much!

 

While Heenan is my all-time favorite wrestling manager and Okerlund is actually the CBW spokesman.... I still take exception to this poster. It has absolutely nothing to do with the show at the end, which was main-evented by The Giant defending his WCW Championship against Lex Luger. There was no grill-master cook off to speak of. But what's more interesting is that this was the PPV debut of The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall), meaning that WCW was quickly transforming from comic relief BBQ antics to a legitimate wrestling company.

10) Beach Blast 1992

 

This was one of the few pre-Hogan era WCW pay-per-views that casual and hardcore wrestling fans had interest in. Two established and well-respected wrestling stars in Ricky Steamboat and Rick Rude were squaring off in a 30-minute Ironman match, with a well-built and well-promoted backstory behind it that was several months in the making.

 

The poster itself was a work of art, with illustrations (and not silly cartoonish ones) of both competitors preparing to square off in a sandcastle-themed ring. This one had everything - sand, surf, two legitimate icons and a straightforward approach to promoting the match.

 

The other two main attractions are highlighted as well, with Sting defending the WCW Title against Cactus Jack in a Falls Count Anywhere On The Gulf Coast match (a match you should track down to see) and a "bikini contest" between Missy Hyatt and Madusa that was hyped heavily throughout the PPV.

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