WCW Comic Book Issue # 5
As part of our WCW Wednesdays section, we have been reviewing the WCW comic book series created by Marvel in the early 1990's. Here's a review of the first issue, followed by a review of the second issue, third issue and the fourth issue.
When we last left off, our hero Sting had been assaulted by Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance, consisting of Stunning Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Beautiful Bobby Eaton and Diamond Studd (in real life, the group had Larry Zbyszko instead of Studd).
The faction was completed by the addition of The Ghoul, who was revealed to be the debuting Ravishing Rick Rude (in real life, they'd done a similar angle to introduce The Ravishing One).
While the last issue showed Rude holding the WCW World Championship around his waist, apparently he doesn't own it quite yet, as its fate will be determined inside of War Games, the one WCW concept that was perfect for comic book fare because of its many twists and turns. Who will Sting select to compete alongside him inside of the War Games? Read on to find out!
Of course, no comic book would be complete without several preliminary matches before the main event, bouts that really add very little to the main storyline, but were added to demonstrate the full depth of the WCW roster at the time.
Here we have Big Josh versus Cactus Jack, a match that probably headlined WCW Saturday Night at the time. Although the two titans trade barbs back and forth (not to mention insults), there's really not much point to this entire segment. Cactus wins -- I think.
Next, we have an interview segment in which Heavy Metal Van Hammer (remember him?) is talking trash to Missy Hyatt about his future opponents, when all of a sudden, he's confronted by the debuting Punch Fresh.
So far as I can tell (and I was watching WCW programming religiously at the time), there was no such character as Punch Fresh, an apparent predecessor to John Cena who, according to the Hammer Man, raps worse than his granny.
Shortly after his rap, Punch Fresh leaves the ring and ambushes Hammer when his back turned, setting up a feud that I'm guessing will never, ever pay off throughout the duration of this comic book series.
After the segment, we're thrown to a backstage interview where The Stinger has assembled his squadron! Now, in real life, Sting's team that year consisted of Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat and Nikita Koloff... but I suppose none of them were available.
Instead, we get Rick and Scott Steiner and Tom Zenk... who stands a good foot taller than Rick Steiner for some reason.
And, not to go off on too much of a tangent.... but why was there so much of a premium put in this series on Tom F'ng Zenk?
He was a mid-carder at absolute best, yet we've seen the Z-Man repeatedly feuding with the likes of Diamond Studd and Johnny B. Badd. Is there something I'm missing here about the marketability of this guy?
Sting's Squadron is taking on The Dangerous Alliance of Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin and Rick Rude. Maybe Diamond Studd quit the group when he realized it wasn't happening in real life?
The Alliance enters the cage first, followed by.... of course, Tom Zenk. In arguably the funniest panel in this edition, Zenk is pulled against his will by members of The Dangerous Alliance into the depths of the cage. Wait - that's not how War Games works! Whatever happened to one wrestler entering at a time?
With Zenk at a four-on-one advantage.... for some reason.... The Dangerous Alliance employs all kinds of dirty tricks. For example, Paul Heyman (er.... Dangerously) throws a bucket of red paint in the Z-Man's eyes to temporarily blind him.
Now.... with ALL of the traditional wrestling weapons at one's disposal, including tables, ladders, chairs, brass knux, barbed wire, etc., why on earth would Dangerously choose a can of paint? I get that it makes for a better visual, but still...
Eventually, all eight men are in the ring, with The Dangerous Alliance always maintaining a slight advantage (hopefully they didn't have to resort to sidewalk chalk).
Before long, Rude and company have tied The Stinger up in the ropes and are threatening to stomp a mudhole in Zenk's head unless Sting gives up on behalf of the team. But this The Icon Sting we're talking about, and surely he won't resort to.... WTF??
Why would Sting - hero to millions of do-good wrestling fans, give up during a match with so much at stake? Sure, you can argue that he was just trying to protect his friend... but why the hell couldn't Z-Man have protected himself a little better? And if it's because he couldn't do any better on his own as the designated Jobber To The Stars here, then WHY DID STING PICK HIM FOR HIS TEAM?
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Post-match, Paul E. Dangerously and his paint-toting assassins celebrate the victory with the WCW World Championship (although it's never fully explained how Rude was awarded the strap in a War Games match), when Johnny B. Badd comes to the ring, allegedly to beat up his rival Zenk. Also - who cares?
Instead of laying his glittered boots to The Z-Man, Johnny B. Badd pulls a shocking swerve that would have made Vince Russo say "Bro, that doesn't make any sense!". He decides to make enemies out of The Dangerous Alliance (dropkicking all four of them at once in the second panel), explaining that Zenk is really his friend because he's his enemy. I don't get that one, either, folks.
Planting a Kiss That Don't Miss on the side of Rick Rude's cheek, Johnny B. Badd forces the entire Alliance to take a powder, exiting the War Games en masse. What - Sting, The Steiners and Z-Man weren't a credible threat, but JOHNNY B FRICKIN' BADD was?!?
Regardless, we transition from the big letdown of a War Games match from a scene where a bunch hired goons (hired goons?) are conferring with their boss, The Ghoul. For those following along, The Ghoul was revealed as Rick Rude in the previous issue.
I am.... so confused. So The Ghoul isn't Rick Rude any more? Why not? And who the hell is WCW Champion? Can't wait to see where the next issue takes us...