WCW Wednesday: Part XII – The Roma/Vader Edition!

 

I apologize for my hiatus last week as Jonas obliterated not only my area with tons of snow but also my schedule. Regardless, my review of SNME IX is up, so please check it out. In addition, since the calendar changed to February, that means it’s SuperBrawl month. Let’s tackle an unforgettable one- SuperBrawl V!

Remarkably, the first unforgettable item came from the opening match. In 1995, WCW wanted to improve its international exposure by pushing a German rookie by the name of Alex Wright. Although he was an extremely talented wrestler, he lacked charisma to be the next big thing. Enter “Pretty” Paul Roma.

Stuck in a tag team, albeit a former championship-holding one, Roma saw his match at SuperBrawl V as a means to get himself over rather than pushing Wright to the moon like the bookers and agents suggested.

Let’s go to my review of the match:

Match 1: “Pretty” Paul Roma versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright

Highlights:

  • So this match became famous for all the wrong reasons. More on that later.
  • Roma attacked before the bell disabling Wright’s ability to remove his leather jacket.
  • Gorilla press slam from Roma who then mocked the young German.
  • Sunset flip from Wright got 2.
  • After getting countered, Wright cartwheeled to escape.
  • Next, he attempted to kip up three times, but Roma kept yanking him down by the hair. Hmmm.
  • Wright climbed the ropes and gave Roma an arm drag.
  • Meanwhile, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff made his way to ringside.
  • Roma followed up with a trifecta of backbreakers. Mm hmm.
  • Wright tried a springboard to get back in the ring, and Roma walloped him.
  • Backslide by Wright only got a one count.
  • Inside cradle by Wright.
  • While Roma held a reverse chinlock, he put his feet on the ropes. That’s actually a good thing.
  • Wright attempted to deliver a dropkick to Roma off the ropes, but Roma held on.
  • Awesome top rope elbow drop from Roma as he received praise from his tag team partner.
  • When he finally tried to pin Wright, he pulled him up at 2.
  • After giving Roma an Irish whip, Wright missed something. Oops.
  • Leg lariat from Wright yet Roma kicked out at 1.
  • Upon receiving a cross-corner whip, Wright flipped and hit a cross body block.
  • Orndorff broke the count unbeknownst to referee Randy Anderson.
  • After slamming Wright, Roma had a long discussion with Orndorff on the apron.
  • Wright gave Roma a dropkick sending him into Orndorff who fell to the floor.
  • Wright then rolled up Roma for the pin, but Roma kicked out immediately after 3. Aha!

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  My assertions were correct since Roma was being such an incredible prick here. According to his shoot interview, Roma was told to make Wright look good. Well, genius, you did the polar opposite here. Instead, you made the rookie look like a jobber, <insult redacted>!

Meanwhile, Wright remains undefeated.

Where did it lead: Ultimately, it led to Roma getting fired. Advice to up-and-coming wrestlers: While ego (and self-confidence) should be relatively high, attitude can never go against the grain. It cost Roma here as he was essentially blackballed from the big two for his unprofessional conduct.

Now let’s discuss the other unforgettable moment of the show:

In 1995, Hulk Hogan was World champion and the face of WCW. Vader, who had been booked as a monster during his years in WCW, was the next in line to challenge for the World title. Reactions to Hogan within WCW were mixed at best depending upon the location of the TV taping. For example, if WCW held a show in Roanoke, Virginia, Hogan would get booed. So would WCW get a new champion here at SuperBrawl?

Again, from my review:

Match 7 for the WCW World title: Hulk Hogan (champion w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Vader

Highlights:

  • Conspicuous by his absence was Harley Race. Actually, he was injured in a car accident and left WCW.
  • Buffer rumbled.
  • Mixed reaction for Hogan from the Baltimore faithful.
  • Right hands by Hogan didn’t faze Vader. In fact, Vader removed his head-gear to show he meant business.
  • Clothesline in the corner by Hogan also didn’t faze Vader.
  • Short arm scissors from Hogan.
  • After pummeling Hogan in the corner, Vader delivered a short arm clothesline.
  • Avalanche by Vader. Tenta could have learned a thing or two from him.
  • Next, Hogan reversed an Irish whip and sent Vader into and over the steel railing.
  • Coming out of the corner, Hogan clotheslined Vader.
  • Big boot followed by a clothesline over the top rope sent Vader to the floor.
  • Hogan attempted a slam, but Vader fell on top of him.
  • Running body block by Vader.
  • After a slam, Vader delivered the Vader bomb.
  • Vader mounted the top turnbuckle but missed the moonsault.
  • Outside the ring, Hogan made Vader taste the steel railing. Tasted like the crab cake at G&M in Linthicum. Yummy!
  • Hogan scrambled, found a steel chair, and waffled Vader with it outside the ring.
  • Another chair shot to the head by Hogan.
  • Unfortunately, Hogan missed the Axe Bomber.
  • Immediately, Vader delivered a chokeslam followed by a vertical suplex.
  • Hulk-up time!
  • Big boot. Leg drop. Yawn.
  • Vader KICKED OUT! Holy Schnikes!
  • He then ran over both Hogan and referee Randy Anderson.
  • Next, he gave Hogan a powerbomb.
  • With Anderson down, Flair got in the ring, kicked Hogan, and then put Anderson in position.
  • DO WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION?
  • After a splash, Hogan kicked out before 3. Dammit!
  • He then clotheslined Vader over the top rope to the floor again.
  • Flair entered the ring and chopped Hogan causing the DQ.

Rating: ***

Summary: Surprisingly, it wasn’t a bad match between these two big men. Vader worked in his spots while Hogan worked his. In spite of Flair’s interference at the end leaving a bad taste in my mouth, it inspired a rematch at Uncensored.

As Vader was in the process of delivering the powerbomb, the Baltimore faithful were ready to explode for a Vader title victory. Despite it not being an upset whatsoever, Hogan retained due to outside interference. If I may fantasy book for a moment, a brief Vader run from SuperBrawl to Bash at the Beach would not have been a bad thing.

What are your thoughts on the Roma and Vader issues at SuperBrawl V?

Also, please be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.