What the World Was Watching: SuperBrawl V

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are doing commentary and they are live from Baltimore, Maryland.

Opening Contest:  Alex Wright (15-0) pins Paul Roma (4-2) after a schoolboy at 13:20:

This match has acquired a cult following over the year because of Roma’s antics during the match.  Long story short, Roma was not happy to be jobbing to Wright, sensing that the young German talent was too green and inexperienced.  As a result, he swallows Wright up through much of the match and refuses to sell various maneuvers.  For example, he yells at the crowd during an armbar rather than showing pain.  Roma also gets some serious hang time with a flying elbow drop.  Many fans in the front row eat all of this up, cheering Roma on as he annihilates Wright for more than ten minutes.  Paul Orndorff, Roma’s tag team partner, shows up several minutes into the contest and factors into the finish, where Wright dropkicks Pretty Wonderful into each other – after taking too long to do so – and schoolboys Roma.  As an exercise in putting Wright over, this failed miserably.  Contrary to popular belief, though, this did not cause Roma to lose his job after the show.  However, it definitely did not help him when WCW made some talent cutbacks the following month.  Rating:  *½

In an interview with Gene Okerlund, WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri put themselves over, with Booker T promising a Harlem Hangover for later in the evening.  Okerlund has a difficult time telling the Heat apart, calling Stevie Ray “Booker T.”

Randy Savage is shown talking on the WCW Hotline with Mike Tenay.  Call 1-900-909-9900 right now!

Hacksaw Jim Duggan (9-0) beats Bunkhouse Buck (w/Colonel Robert Parker & Meng) (1-2) after a three-point stance clothesline at 11:57:

Duggan should have gotten some more return matches with Vader for the United States title after the two had a pretty good match at Starrcade.  Since Vader is programmed with Hogan, though, Duggan is slotted into a feud with the Stud Stable, thereby stopping any effort by fans to take him as a serious contender for a title ever again.  The crowd is into Duggan’s domination of the match in the early going but dies when Buck gets to do his heat segment after blasting Duggan in the throat with some rope.  If this was booked to go six minutes, it would have been fine.  However, WCW has this go over ten and the match does not click as both men just beat on each other with moves, spam chinlocks, and do not tell much of a story.  After what feels like an eternity, Duggan knocks Parker off the apron and finishes Buck to stay undefeated.  Rating:  ¼*

After the match, Meng wakes up the crowd by taking Duggan’s head off with a thrust kick.  He then puts Duggan in a nerve hold until WCW officials intervene.

Okerlund interviews the Nasty Boys, who threaten Sherri with violence and argue that Harlem Heat are getting “nasticized.”

Kevin Sullivan (w/the Butcher) (2-1) beats Dave Sullivan (2-1) with a schoolboy at 7:33:

As one would expect, the Butcher wastes no time to get involved, tripping Dave and attacking him on the arena floor.  Heenan notes that Sullivan family members are in attendance for this family clash, but in a piece of WCW logic no “family members” are shown on screen to lend even the slightest bit of credibility to this feud.  Like the previous bout, this is a brawl with little flow or crowd interest and it reinforces the widely held belief that Dave can be an entertaining character but is an awful in-ring worker.  The Butcher hops on the apron and Kevin sacrifices his ally by ramming Dave’s head into the Butcher’s face.  After the match, the Butcher is in pain, playing off of Brutus Beefcake’s 1990 face injury, and Kevin helps him halfway down the aisle before leaving him behind.  Rating:  ¼*

Pedro Morales and Miguel Alonzo are shown doing Spanish commentary for tonight’s pay-per-view.

Okerlund interviews Big Bubba Rogers and Avalanche, but hypes Ric Flair before letting them speak.  Avalanche promises destruction later in the evening, while Rogers says that fans need to give up on looking for something in him that just is not there.

Sting is shown talking on the WCW Hotline.

WCW Tag Team Championship Match:  Harlem Heat (WCW Tag Team Champions w/Sister Sherri) (10-0) defeat the Nasty Boys (10-0) via reverse decision that disqualifies the Nasty Boys at 17:07:

Both teams were built well for this clash, sporting undefeated records.  The Heat generate some anger from the crowd for using Sherri as an additional weapon against Jerry Sags when he is in peril and then cutting him off when he tries to attack her.  Sadly, these teams do not have chemistry and the bigger Nasties make it hard for the Heat’s high octane offense to look as impressive as it does in squash matches.  The crowd pops big when Brian Knobbs gives the Heat a double DDT when all hell breaks loose, but WCW runs the finish that has been circulating on house shows where Knobbs pins Stevie Ray to win the titles after heel miscommunication with Sherri but another referee, in this case Randy Anderson, runs in and disqualifies the Nasties because Jerry Sags tossed Booker T over the top rope moments before the winning pin.  All of this means that the feud between these two teams will continue.  The finish before it got “Dusticized” got the crowd going but everything before that was flat.  Rating:  *½

Okerlund interviews Randy Savage and Sting.  Savage starts the interview by saying that he is not talking, causing Sting to do all the promo work.  Sting promises that there will be no more Big Bubba Rogers after tonight and he has a plan to deal with Avalanche.

A video package recaps the Dustin Rhodes-Blacktop Bully feud.

The Blacktop Bully (w/Colonel Robert Parker) (7-0) defeats Dustin Rhodes (8-0) when Parker trips Rhodes during a suplex and holds his leg down at 16:10:

Before the match, Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel bans Meng from ringside due to Meng’s altercation with Hacksaw Jim Duggan earlier in the evening.  This, aside from fans working up a “KFC” chant at Parker, is about as excited as the crowd gets for this encounter, another in a list of plodding matches tonight.  After fifteen minutes of exchanging strikes and taking few bumps, Rhodes catches the Bully with the bulldog but Parker interferes to put the Bully’s foot on the bottom rope.  Rhodes attacks Parker as a result, but when he tries to suplex the Bully into the ring, Parker interferes and Rhodes’ undefeated streak in 1995 comes to an end.  If you ever need a cure for insomnia, this is the match for you.  Rating:  ½*

Okerlund interviews Vader, who hypes himself as a big demon coming for Hulk Hogan.  Schiavone and Heenan add more hype for tonight’s main event as the crowd chants “We Want Flair!”

Okerlund interviews Ric Flair in the aisle.  Flair says that he is in Baltimore to party and will take a spot at ringside for the next match.

Sting & Randy Savage beat Big Bubba Rogers & Avalanche when Sting pins Avalanche after a flying clothesline at 10:19:

Unlike some of the other competitors on this evening’s pay-per-view, these four men act like they want to be here.  Rogers sells his ass off for the babyfaces, while Savage plays to the crowd by slapping Avalanche several times and taunting Ric Flair to get into the ring.  Flair reciprocates the gesture later when Sting gets in peril, causing a poor security guard to get manhandled by Savage as a result.  Sting mixes up his inadvertent headbutt to the groin spot as he slams Avalanche, gets blasted by Rogers, and falls into the prone bigger man.  The finish is really sloppy as Savage gives Rogers the flying elbow smash but is not the legal man and Rogers is supposed to get up so he can accidentally trip Avalanche as Sting flies off the top rope.  Instead, Avalanche just makes a weak tumble over his partner as the babyfaces prevail.  This was just an average contest – albeit full of fun spots – but after the horrid undercard bouts this might as well have been four stars.  Rating:  **

Schiavone and Heenan hype the main event and a video package hypes Hulk Hogan-Vader.

Okerlund interviews WCW Champion Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart.  Hogan says that the immortality of Hulkamania is at stake.

WCW Championship Match:  Hulk Hogan (Champion w/Jimmy Hart) defeats Vader (6-0) via disqualification when Ric Flair interferes at 15:10:

This was a dream match the moment that Hogan signed with WCW in 1994 and it lives up to the hype as Hogan departs from some of his typical match formula to survive Vader’s physical onslaught.  Hogan even has to use a chair in an effort to level the odds, although that fails to derail Vader in the middle of the contest.  Vader is put over as an unstoppable monster here, kicking out of Hogan’s leg drop after a one count, but he is unable to win the title because the referee gets bumped shortly before he plants Hogan with a powerbomb.  Ric Flair tries to revive the referee but ends up brawling with Hogan and that prevents a decisive winner from being declared, deflating the crowd.  Despite the finish, this felt like a very different Hogan match where he was facing someone who could counter much of his offense and overcome his comebacks.  Rating:  ***¼

After the bell, Vader and Flair double team Hogan until Randy Savage and Sting hit the ring.  This would seem to set up some type of return bout or tag team match down the road at Uncensored or Slamboree.

The Last Word:  While having Vader win here and have Hogan chase for much of the summer would have been nice, with Vader possibly defending the title against Randy Savage and Sting, WCW was not going to go for that because Hogan was brought in to raise pay-per-view buys and attract mainstream publicity.  Nevertheless, one cannot help but look at this Hogan-Vader feud as a missed opportunity from a booking standpoint since Vader was on fire as a character after Starrcade.  Aside from the main event the ring work on this show was very, very sloppy.  Wrestlers were missing their cues, overusing rest holds, and failed to sustain interest in their matches.  WCW really needs to give their undercard a jolt as things are incredibly stale and the crowd barely reacted to heels not named Vader or Ric Flair.

Attendance:  13,390 (10,000+ paid)

Buyrate:  0.95 (+.45 over previous year; 215,00 buys)

Backstage News*:  WCW drew a $165,000 gate for SuperBrawl and it was the first time that the company sold over 10,000 tickets since 1989.  The gate makes the Hulk Hogan-Vader contest the third biggest draw in company history, trailing Ric Flair against Terry Funk at the Great American Bash in 1989 and Hogan’s bout against Ric Flair at Halloween Havoc last year.  WCW wanted Hulk Hogan and Vader to get color in the main event and have the bout stopped for blood loss, thereby paving the way for a rematch at Uncensored but the company changed its mind at the last second.  The Great Muta’s appearance on the telecast might be teasing an angle that WCW will run at the end of the year.  New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick ripped WCW in his weekly column, highlighting Frank Anderson’s recent drug conviction, Hogan’s steroid past, and the company’s handling of Jerry Blackwell’s death.  The column’s circulation in the New York media market could make it difficult for WCW to secure future business partners.  Plans for a cruiserweight tournament have been shelved, with the tournament now planned for June.  Sabu will not be part of the tournament as WCW might use some talent from Japan and Mexico to fill the field, with the Latin Lover and Jerry Estrada pegged to compete.  Former NWA United States Tag Team Champion Eddie Gilbert passed away from a heart attack in Isla Verde, Puetro Rico on February 18.  He was thirty-three years old.

*Backstage news is sourced from Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer from March 6, 1995.

Up Next:  WCW Pro for February 25!