The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Superbrawl – Live from St. Petersburg, Florida. – Your hosts are Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes. – Opening match, US tag titles: The Fabulous Freebirds v. The Young Pistols. The titles were vacated when the Steiners “won” the World titles (Hey, wanna annoy the Rick? Write and ask him to explain the Freebirds’ title reign in 1991…) and this is to fill the vacancy. (Was there a more pointless repackaging than going from “The Southern Boys” to “The Young Pistols”? I can only assume that there was some fear of racism in the previous name, because they were doing exactly the same act after the name-change regardless of them “paying tribute to Bob Armstrong” or whatever nonsense reason they gave at the time.) Standard action to start and then a pier-six erupts and Brad Armstrong arrives at ringside to even the odds. Big Daddy Dink gets sent back to the dressing room and Brad follows. The Pistols double-team Garvin. We head outside the ring and Tracy Smothers takes a nice bump as he gets dropped on the STEEL railing. He gets on the ring apron and then takes the Bret Hart bump into the STEEL railing again. Tracy plays Ricky Morton for the Freebirds’ shitty offense. Steve Armstrong gets the hot tag and cleans up with a tope on both Birds, and then they hit their double-team jawjacker on both Birds. Ref gets bumped when they do it again. Brad Armstrong runs out dressed as “Fantasia” (later renamed Badstreet) and nails Smothers with a tornado DDT, and Hayes gets the pin to win the US tag titles at 10:19. *1/2 (No idea why they never went anywhere with the Badstreet thing as a gimmick whereby he’d get unmasked as a traitor to his family. Could have been a fun payoff, actually.) – Dan Spivey v. Ricky Morton. This is still prior to Morton’s heel turn. Spivey tosses Morton around the ring like a child in the standard big man v. little man formula. Morton makes a brief comeback but gets powerbombed out his boots and Spivey pins him with one foot at 3:11. 1/2* – Nikita Koloff v. Tommy Rich. Fresh off attacking Lex Luger at WrestleWar 91, Koloff needed a reason to be here to interfere later in the night, so he squashes Rich and finishes it with a sickle at 4:07. * (Never apologize for squashing Tommy Rich.) – Special interview with Johnny B. Badd. This is Badd’s debut, and he turns the Fag-O-Meter up to 11. Badd finishes the interview with that classic line “I’m so pretty, I should have been born a little girl.” Man, isn’t that Dusty Rhodes a friggin’ GENIUS? Only he could come up with a blatantly homosexual character and not get it over. It should be noted that Johnny, who was gayer than Lenny and Lodi combined, predated them by a good 8 years. (You’ll note that Badd of course got over by completely eliminating the gay portion of his character and just being Marc Mero.) – Terrence Taylor v. Dustin Rhodes. Taylor has the repackaged Big Cat with him as the bodyguard Mr. Hughes. Oddly that particular gimmick would stick with Hughes for the rest of his career. (To bring up the previous post about guys who were best cast in their characters, Mr. Hughes was the PERFECT role for Curtis Hughes.) Stalling and punching to start. Taylor keeps rolling out to consult with the “computer”. To review: Alexandra York would go on to marry Dustin Rhodes and is currently known as Terri, manager of the Hardy Boyz. (And then they’d have a nasty divorce and she’d date New Jack instead before having a nasty Facebook breakup with him as well. The question of course is how Jerome Young keeps getting all this quality action.) Taylor keeps control with more knees and punching until Dustin makes the supercow comeback. Dustin gets the bulldog but the ref is distracted with Ms. York, which allows Hughes the opportunity to get onto the apron and, of course, hit Taylor by mistake with an international object. Rhodes gets the pin in 8:05. * (At this point it was all hands on deck to bump for Dustin Rhodes and justify the push from daddy the bookerman. Obviously he turned into a good worker in the long run, but that was a LONG ways away.) – Big Josh v. Black Bart. Bart doesn’t have the other two Desperadoes with him, unfortunately. Speaking of bad gimmicks, man was THAT one like a huge car wreck. Two months of vignettes for a six-man group consisting of Dutch Mantell, Randy Culley and Black Bart, whose ultimate goal was not to win matches or anything (because god knows they failed hideously enough if it was) but to find Stan Hansen. Another Dusty brainchild. (Sadly, they never found Stan, even though he’s IN THE NEXT SEGMENT.) This would be a nacho break match, as Bart is subbing for Larry Zbyszko. Sadly, this is probably a better match than Zbyszko would have provided. Josh completes the squash in 3:46 with the log roll and the Northern Lights butt splash. DUD – Paul E. Dangerously presents…the Danger Zone. He’s the only true cowboy in New York, you know. The designated verbal victim this time: Stan Hansen. Well, not quite, as Hansen commandeers the microphone and yells threats to Dustin Rhodes and his fat father. Oddly enough, the Desperadoes don’t do a run-in here, despite the pursuit of Stan Hansen being their, you know, life and everything. – And while Hansen talks, the stage hands set up the entranceway for the debut of…you know who. Yes, folks, before he was Big or even sexy, Kevin Nash walked the yellow brick road as the Great and Powerful Oz. With his manager, the Great Wizard (Kevin Sullivan in a goofy mask). I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. See, Ted Turner had recently bought the rights to the MGM movie catalogue, and in one of those mental leaps that only people from the southern US and network executives make, he wanted to hype the debut of the Wizard of Oz on his TV stations by having a character based on the movie. (Much like if a WWE show ended up on the Sci-Fi network and it was decided that they needed to have a zombie and vampire character on that wrestling show in order to justify it being there.) Kevin Nash was appointed. – Oz v. Tim Parker. 40 second squash as Nash finishes it with the helicopter slam. DUD 8 years later and the guy is WCW World champion. Go fig. – Missy Hyatt goes into the locker room for an interview with Terrence Taylor, but inevitably she finds Stan Hansen in the shower and more hilarity ensues. (Can you imagine if Hansen was around today as a top guy in WWE? I’d pay money to see the conversation that resulted when someone tried to give him a script to read and asked him to do a 10 minute promo on live TV about “The WWE Universe.” ) – Taped fist match: Brian Pillman v. Barry Windham. Total brawl, as they spill outside and Windham starts bleeding right away. Pillman briefly launches his flurry of offense, but Windham drops him on the STEEL railing to a big pop to take over. Windham hammers on Pillman, who makes the comeback, but gets caught with a lowblow on the top rope and superplexed for the Windham pinfall. Big pop for that. Alarmingly short match at 6:08, however. **1/2 (Things would get worse for Pillman in this feud.) – The Diamond Mine with DDP. (Two interview segments! On a PPV!) We get pre-taped comments from Luger and Sting for whatever reason, and then DDP brings out his newest find…The Diamond Studd. Hey yo, this gimmick sucks. Scott Hall would go on to refine the gimmick into Razor Ramon. (Get it…REFINE…?) – Stretcher match: El Gigante v. Sid Vicious. (I take it back, bring back the interview segments instead!) This would be the “let’s get this over with so I can go to the WWF” match for Sid. Conspiracy theory: El Gigante disappeared in 1994. Paul Wight made his debut in 1995. El Gigante is Spanish for “The Giant”. Coincidence? Well, anyway, Gigante finishes Sid off with the clawhold after about two minutes of non-action, but One Man Gang attacks Gigante before Sid can be loaded onto the stretcher. The fans sing “Na na na na, hey hey hey goodbye” for Sid. -*** – Thunder-doom cage match: Ron Simmons v. Butch Reed. (I should note that this is a full cage over the ring six years before WWE “innovated” the idea with Hell In The Cell. WWE, in all fairness though, did come up with the idea of letting good workers take crazy bumps off the cage and using it to draw money, which WCW never would have thought of doing.) Teddy Long is in a cage above the ring. This would be the blowoff for the feud that started at Wrestlewar when they lost the tag titles to the Freebirds. This was a very transitional show, as Long dumped Reed and moved on to Johnny B. Badd, and DDP dumped the Freebirds in favor of the Diamond Studd. (They both backed the correct horse in those races.) Both Reed and Simmons use the same music. Simmons hammers Reed early but misses a charge to the cage and Reed takes over. Ross is once again dubbing him “Hacksaw” Butch Reed. Simmons blades. More boring offense from Reed. Simmons takes about 10 minutes of punches and kicks. Why would Reed still have the “D” on his boots? At least Ron Simmons moved on with his life. Simmons makes the superbro comeback, but Long tosses an international object into the ring. Reed spends too much time jawing with the referee, and Simmons catches him with the spinebuster for the win at 9:39. Yawn. 1/2* – WCW World tag team titles: The Steiner Brothers v. Sting & Lex Luger. There was no real build to this match — Sting and Luger basically just asked for a title shot at one point. Luger and Rick start out slow, but it builds fast once Luger no-sells a Steinerline. Rick blitzes him with a pair of suplexes and a clothesline, but Luger responds with his own. The crowd is torn. Sting’s turn, as he clotheslines Rick out of the ring and hits a gorgeous running tope. Sting does Rick’s own body-vice-into-the-corner ramming move on him, but the Stinger splash misses. Scott in with a butterfly powerbomb to a huge pop. Tilt-a-whirl and the crowd is going nuts. Sting reverses a whip into a stungun and Luger’s in. Another quick tag to Sting, but Scott with an atomic drop and a belly-to-belly superplex for two. Over to the other corner, but Scott misses a charge and goes over the top rope. Luger tags in and suplexes him in for two. Scott blocks a powerslam with a uranage, but Lex comes back with the powerslam. He goes for the rack, but Scott counters to a russian legsweep. Rick tags in and comes off the top with the bulldog and an elbowdrop for two. Sting dropkicks Rick off the top rope and a brawl erupts. Luger and Rick do the double knockout. Sting and Scott get the hot tags and Sting hits a belly to back on Scott. They do the tombstone reversal spot and Sting gets it. Two count. Another brawl erupts as Rick and Luger fight outside. Sting with the Stinger splash on Scott…but Nikita Koloff skulks to ringside with a chain wrapped around his arm. He swings at Luger but Sting pushes him out of the way and takes the shot himself, falling prey to a Scott Steiner pin at 11:09 to retain the titles. Ab fab. ***** A great match with a great angle, great intensity, and completely non-formula. (Still one of my favorite matches ever. Also the last really great Steiner Brothers match in the US before Scott’s arm went to shit.) – World TV title match: Arn Anderson v. Bobby Eaton. They trade headlocks to start as Eaton has morphed into a babyface since the last PPV. Arn gets a cheapshot but Eaton with a clothesline out of the corner and move #103 (arm-BAR). Eaton to the top but Anderson slams him onto the rampway. Eaton reverses a piledriver on the ramp to a backdrop. Eaton with a double-axehandle on Anderson as he comes into the ring. Eaton mixes it up with move #949 (ARM-bar). A AA cheapshot and posting turns the tide. He applies a leglock and holds the ropes for leverage. Although the way he has it applied, the ropes wouldn’t really help much. Eaton breaks free and rams Arn to each turnbuckle 8 or 9 times each. Another cheapshot allows Arn to go to work on the knee again. Eaton tries a suplex but the knee gives way. They trade shots and Arn goes for the pump splash but Eaton gets the knees up. Spinebuster gets two. Anderson to the second rope and he gets a shot in the gut, of course, and does the somersault sell. Eaton with the neckbreaker, and he goes to the top for the Alabama Jam to win the World TV title at 11:50, his first and only singles title. It would last about a week before he dropped it to Steve Austin. Eaton is so happy that he hugs Nick Patrick while taking the belt. Eaton and Anderson must have like working together, because they went on to win the WCW World tag team titles in early 1992. ***1/4 (Eaton is of course one of the nicest guys in the business, and it was really nice to finally see him get his moment in the spotlight as a singles star, even if it didn’t last for long. He got this and then the match with Flair the next month and I don’t think he even would have wanted anything else as far as a singles push went.) – WCW World title match: Ric Flair v. Tatsumi Fujinami. This was actually a match to settle a dispute between NWA World champion Fujinami and WCW World champion Ric Flair after Fujinami pinned Flair for the NWA title in Japan and WCW refused to recognize it. Flair isn’t using “Also Sprach Zarathustra” here for some reason. Tiger Hatori is the in-ring ref, and Fonzie is the backup outside. They trade some stuff to start and Fujinami ends up with the first advantage with a bow-and-arrow. Then a Boston Crab. And an indian deathlock. Geez, this is rather 20 years ago. Fujinami gets two off a flying forearm. Another one sends Flair over the top to the floor. They fight a bit and Flair ends up crotching Fujinami on the STEEL railing. Flair tosses him in and goes to work on the knee. Figure-four but Fujinami makes the ropes. Fujinami gets a scorpion deathlock but Flair makes the ropes. Belly to back gets two. Flair with his own, followed by the kneedrop. They do some headlock stuff and then fight outside, where Flair blades. Fujinami with chops on Flair back in the ring. Flair to the top, but Fujinami slams him off and puts on a modified abdominal stretch. Slugfest, which leads to the inevitable Flair Flop, and a double knockout which leaves Fujinami on the floor and Flair on the ramp. Back in and Flair’s knee gives out on a slam for a Fujinami two. Small package for two. Fujinami with a rollup, but Tiger Hatori gets bumped. Luckily Bill Alfonso is there to count Flair’s reversal for three at 18:39. The WCW and NWA title are thus reunified. And everyone who cared was pretty much sitting at the broadcaster’s table. Off night for both guys. **3/4 The Bottom Line: Well, the first couple of hours was pathetic crap, but everything from the tag titles on was great. Not a must-see show, but definitely check out the tag title match. (What he said. And they fit all this into the same amount of time as a WWE PPV today!) Mildly recommended.