WCW Comic Book Issue # 4
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 and the third issue.
When we last left off, Sting had temporarily given up his pursuit of The Ghoul to pursue The Young Pistols and a REALLY fat version of Cactus Jack aboard the WCW Bruise Cruise. Sounds like.... fun?
The folks at Marvel promised us the next issue would be called "War Games" but apparently we're going to have to wait a month for that one while we delve through the "Dangerous Alliances" storyline.
Our opening tag team match has future WWE Hall of Famers "Stunning" Steve Austin and The Diamond Studd (Scott Hall) preparing for yet another squash match, presumably on WCW Worldwide, against two scrubs named Jersey Jerry and Mangy Matt. What, no love for Zan Panzer in the comics?
One thing I NEED to point out is that this comic book, as a general rule, has wayyyyyy too much Johnny B. Badd in it. In Issue # 1, he was a semi-finalist in the number one contenders' battle royal, in Issue # 2 he was sort of a commentator, and here he's taken center stage (not to be confused with Atlanta's Center Stage Theater) as a commentator again alongside Good Ol' JR, Jim Ross.
In just a few panels, Ross and Badd describe what's happened since the last issue: The Steiner Brothers have won the WCW Tag Team Titles; the WCW World Title has been vacated (after Lex Luger left the company in real life); Sting has been named number one contender (even though Ron Simmons was named # 1 contender in the first issue), and Austin and Studd have announced a new manager - Paul E. Dangerously! Never mind that Studd was never in the original Dangerous Alliance on television, I guess....
Backstage, we learn that Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton have joined The Dangerous Alliance (Diamond Studd seems to have taken the place of Larry Zbyszko), and that The Fabulous Freebirds explain in the most boring interview of all time, how they are also gunning for The Steiner Brothers.
After yet another pointless squash match between P.N. News and someone known as Zoltan The Magnificent (another Marvel creation) and some advancing of the must-see Johnny B. Badd vs. Z-Man feud... it's time for our main event!
Sting (complete with Sgt. Pepper jacket and goofy grin on his face) is all set to win the vacant WCW World Title! But who is The Stinger facing tonight?
Ummmm..... The Ghoul.
Look, I get that The Ghoul is the major story line in this comic series so far. And given that Lex Luger has flown the coop to gain fame and fortune in the World Bodybuilding Federation (heh), there's really no one else left on the heel side for Sting to face. But HOW did The Ghoul, whom no one has ever even seen before, end up as top contender to WCW's main title??
But perhaps the WCW championship committee (Dusty Rhodes, Bill Watts, Jim Herd, Kevin Sullivan, Drunk Ric Flair) got this call right. The Ghoul is absolutely destroying Sting throughout the entire fight. Think Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena from SummerSlam '14 and you get the idea.
The Ghoul manages to pummel Stinger in the face several times, leap from the arena floor to inside the ring in a single bound (seriously), rock his opponent with a dropkick that somehow makes a "THWOPPT" sound, and injure Sting's surgically repaired knee (which is a nice nod to the past, because in the real WCW, that had happened nearly three years ago).
Then The Ghoul begins doing a certain pose that wrestling fans from the late 1980's/early 1990's will remember well.....
Ron Simmons -- whom, as I'd mentioned, was already number one contender before the Bruise Cruise fiasco -- comes down to ringside to help his buddy Sting. Of course, if this really WAS a WCW storyline, Simmons would have turned on Sting and that would have been that.
Instead, Simmons gets manhandled by The Ghoul, after which the mysterious green skeleton turns his attention back to The Stinger. The Ghoul attempts to nail Sting with a steel chair, but accidentally hits the referee, getting him disqualified.
You have a vacant WCW World Heavyweight Title and a match to fill the vacancy between the popular hero and a slimy green newcomer, and it ends in a disqualification so that there can't be any champion. Sadly, that feels exactly like something WCW would have done back in the day.
To absolutely no one's surprise, Ron Simmons comes back to ringside and demands that The Ghoul relinquish the championship belt that he (apparently) didn't win. After Badd calls Simmons an "idiot" for making such a request, Johnny B is proven right because Ghoul hits him with the hardware so powerfully that Simmons is knocked off the ring apron, unconscious and (presumably) dead.
Continuity gaffe: how did Ron Simmons go from being knocked off the ring apron to being inside the ring with his midsection draped over the top rope?
Anyhoo.... with Sting, Simmons and the referee all knocked out, the cowardly Seth Ghoullins poses with "his" championship belt, although we haven't had an official decision rendered yet.
Suddenly, a bunch of Paul Heyman Guys come to ringside at the behest of Mr. E. Dangerously and promptly toss Sting (on his head!) and Simmons out of the ring. The five men celebrate in the ring and toast their manager Paul E. Dangerously for.... I dunno, coordinating the attack? Gathering a fine collection of wrestlers together to do his evil bidding? Bouncing their ECW cheques?
We never find out, but The Ghoul then takes the microphone, asks for all the fat sweathogs in the audience to keep the noise down while he shows the ladies what a real man is supposed to look like.
Yes, that's right: The Ghoul (much like The Hallowe'en Phantom character that debuted in WCW at the exact same time) is none other than..... RAVISHING RICK RUDE!
Hmmm..... not to play a backseat Bill Watts, but wouldn't booking a Sting-Rick Rude match for your main event have put more asses in the seats than Sting against some obviously-masked wrestler whom no one had heard of before? Sure, the surprise element was cool, but everyone could have probably saved time and money by just saying "Rick Rude is back in WCW and this time, he's in the main event."
Stay tuned next issue for "War Games" - yes, for real this time...