WCW Comic Book Issue # 2
A couple of months ago, I reviewed the first issue of Marvel's WCW comic book series that came out around 1992. I enjoyed the nostalgic rush so much that I've set out to find all 12 issues of the series and review them as part of the new WCW Wednesdays section.
When we last left off, Ron Simmons won a battle royal to determine the number one contender to the championship and WCW World Champion Lex Luger (whom I believe was gone from the company by the time the issue hit newsstands) had piledriven Simmons on top of the winner's trophy.
We're told by Missy Hyatt that Simmons has been so badly injured (his wrestling future is now UNCERTAIN!) that Luger will have to defend his title against three opponents at the next Clash of the Champions. A nice, concise recap to get us going.
Rick and Scott have won their match and are responding to (another) pre-taped interview, this one by Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson.
There's no way they'll "ever get the jump on us," Big Poppa Pump proclaims, just as Bobby and Arn do just that, disguised as old-timey popcorn vendors.
We move on to the Clash, where Rick and Scott Steiner are taking on.... Big Barney and Feral Fred? Granted, it wasn't totally unlike WCW to put a squash match on the Clash, but you'd have to think that The Steiner Brothers deserved better. At least give them The State Patrol!
The Steiners are manhandling BB and FF (what else is new?). But then, mid-way through the match, announcers Jim Ross and Terrence Taylor (substituting for Paul E. Dangerously in this issue) decide they're bored and cut away to a video where Sting (through numerous flashbacks) explains how he and Luger used to be BFF's.... but now they're enemies (or at the very least, frenemies) and will battling it out for the gold later tonight!
After that, we go back to ringside, where the squash match is over. Guess that's what happens when you cut away from live wrestling for a pre-taped interview, huh?
The Steiners fight back and soon it's time for our Clash main event -- WCW Champion Lex Luger against his top three contenders:
Z-Man Tom Zenk (who has never been a number one contender for anything in his life, ever), Sting (dressed in green, even he clearly had different facepaint in the pre-tape) and.... um, Ron Simmons.
Wait... I thought Simmons's future was "uncertain" and that was just a few panels ago! Anyone going to explain how he returned from injury in time for the main event? And so long as he's healthy.... why not give Simmons, the number one contender, a TITLE SHOT??
Apparently, Marvel's idea of a "3-On-1 Handicap Match" is to have Luger wrestle three separate matches against each contender. I mean, it's still impressive, but not exactly delivering as advertised.
Flexy Lexy makes short work of the Z-Man (obvs), complete with a piledriver that makes Zenk's head go "WUNK!", and all of a sudden Ross and Taylor throw to a pre-tape of Johnny B. Badd, letting Zenk know that "Burger Whiz" is hiring. The hell?
Next, we have the match between Sting and Luger.
I have to say, some of the artwork in this issue is really, really well done (not all of it, but the large sketch of Luger, for example, is awesome).
Following a back-and-forth battle between the two on-again/off-again rivals, Luger manages to rip a turnbuckle from its corner post and then ram Sting into the post head first, which is good enough for a three count.
By the way, "The Ghoul" that is referenced here by Taylor later becomes the WCW Hallowe'en Phantom, who was played in real life at the time by Rick Rude. But here in this issue, absolutely none of that is adequately explained.
Finally, we get the third part of this "3-on-1 handicap match", number one contender Ron Simmons challenging Luger for the strap. Despite the fact that Simmons was just, you know, injured recently.
These two battle for pages and pages and pages, trading the advantage back and forth. Luger's trenchcoat-wearing henchmen (from the previous issue) arrive at ringside to assist Luger in his eeeeeevil plot, but eventually Luger takes control on his own.
Finally, Luger delivers the world's most unsafe piledriver to Simmons, dropping Faarooq on his head. I heard it's such a dangerous spot that A.J. Styles routinely calls Lex up and pleads for him to better protect his opponent's neck.
After the ol' spine-destroyer has been delivered to Simmons several times, Lex chokes him in the rope (prompting Ron to utter his new catchphrase "U--Ckk-UGCH!!") and leaves him for dead in the middle of the ring. DAMN!
Post-match, Luger parades around the ring, having garbage pelted at him, and continuing to brag about dominant he is, and all that.
Thanfully, someone somewhere can stop the juggernaut that is (at the time) WBF Bodystar Lex Luger. And that person is none other than....
.... EL GIGANTE!!!
Yes, the 7"7 giant is here to accomplish what Z-Man, Sting and Ron Simmons couldn't -- give Lex Luger a wrestling lesson! #Sarcasm
Initially, Thee Giant (as his trunks used to read) manhandled Luger and tossed him around like he was a rag doll. But soon, Luger's mysterious hired goons ("Hired goons?") join in the fray to even up the odds, but no, they couldn't keep up with the monstrous Argentinian.
Finally, we're down to the matchup everyone (?) has been dreaming of: Lex Luger vs. El Gigante. And as you would fully expect, Lex beans him in the head with the title belt and leaves him laying, ending that particular challenge.
I suppose I can buy Luger getting past his top three challengers; he didn't exactly escape by the skin of his teeth there, but whatever. But then, as soon as that's done, he gets challenged by literally the tallest wrestler EVER and still manages to outclass him???
Sorry, but I never saw Lex Effing Luger so well-protected during his WCW run. Is this Lex Luger or John Cena?
By the way.... how exactly was this "THE REVENGE OF RON SIMMONS" ???
Elsewhere, a boat is docked, presumably the same boat that JR and The Red Rooster were saying earlier would host The Bruise Cruise (a WCW-themed celebrity cruise that, believe or not, actually happened in real life). In the shadows, four hired goons (Hired Goons?) lift a crate full of explosives to sea. Could this finally be the moment where they blow Z-Man to smithereens? A guy can always hope, can't he?
And that cliffhanger ends the issue. I have to say, while the in-ring action got a little repetitive (not to mention just a tad unlikely), at least they're taking this comic out of the ring and to new locations now. WCW's third issue might well be a turning point for the collection, but for that part.... you're going to have to wait another month or so I can dig the issue up.
To be continued...