What the World Was Watching: Fall Brawl 1995

Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan are in the booth and they are live from Asheville, North Carolina.

Opening #1 Contender Contest for the United States Championship:  Johnny B. Badd (35-4-2) beats Brian Pillman (34-4) after a crossbody off the ropes at 29:13:

WCW did a great job building this match, giving Pillman a fifteen-match winning streak and Badd a thirteen-match winning streak going into the show.  Michael Buffer is handling ring introductions and he adds to the atmosphere by saying this is an “elimination bout” to get a shot at Sting’s U.S. title on the September 30 edition of WCW Saturday Night.  The crowd sides with Badd in this battle of the babyfaces, with Schiavone observing that Pillman is not smiling as much as he used to.  After a slow ten-minute feeling out process – during which Badd starts bleeding hardway from the right eye – Pillman embraces being a heel by taking a powder, taunting Badd, and jawing with fans.  Big moves follow as Pillman kicks out of a sitout powerbomb and the Tutti Frutti and Badd kicks out of a tombstone piledriver and Air Pillman, but the time limit expires at twenty minutes.  Since we need a challenger for Sting, though, overtime is ordered.  If that is the case, then why have a time limit for this match in the first place?  In overtime, more finisher kickouts occur with Pillman kicking out of the Badd Day and Badd doing the same to a tornado DDT.  Badd eventually says screw it and tosses Pillman off the top rope into the guardrail and hits his somersault plancha to the floor but the Badd Mood eats knees.  Shortly after that both men run the ropes and attempt crossbodies, with Badd falling on top of Pillman for the victory.  That finish has been overused in Pillman’s feature matches this year, but the crowd is happy Badd prevails regardless.  This match told a great story as big moves were spaced apart, overcoming a slow start and becoming WCW’s match of the year to this point.  And the reason it received such an unusual amount of time was because WCW brass did not think these two men could go for thirty minutes.  To say they proved them wrong would be an understatement.  Rating:  ****

Gene Okerlund interviews Ric Flair, who reminds Arn Anderson of their friendship.  Flair says he is the king of the hill and Anderson will learn that lesson later tonight.

Sergeant Craig Pittman (34-3) defeats Cobra (4-0) via submission to the Code Red at 1:21:

The booking committee appears to have recognized that this feud was a disaster as Pittman repels from the rafters after sending the future Prince Iaukea to distract Cobra, does a sneak attack, and squashes the newcomer in less than two minutes.

Television Championship Match:  Diamond Dallas Page (w/the Diamond Doll & Maxx Muscle) (14-1-2) pins the Renegade (Champion w/Jimmy Hart) (21-0) after the Diamond Cutter to win the title at 8:06:

Mirroring other pay-per-view crowds, Asheville is having nothing to do with the Renegade, loudly cheering Page during his entrance and booing the Renegade’s comebacks.  Page survives the first minute of the match and manages to get a decent match out of the champion, helped by Page’s willingness to oversell.  Some heel miscommunication when Muscle gets on the apron seems to put the Renegade in a position to win the title, but he opts to dive onto Muscle on the floor rather than do the Renegade Splash.  When he re-enters the ring, though, Muscle grabs his leg and Page hits the Diamond Cutter to put an end to the Renegade experiment.  The Doll is not happy with the result, shaking her head as Page walks off with the title.  Rating:  **

WCW Tag Team Championship Match:  Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) (42-6-2) beat Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck (Champions w/Colonel Robert Parker) (21-11-1) when Booker T pins Slater after the Nasty Boys interfere to win the titles at 16:50:

Fans could be forgiven if they forgot that this match was even for the tag team titles as the feud between them revolves around their managers.  Chokes, chinlocks, and clubberin’ dominate much of the bout, boring the crowd who sits on their hands and waits for the inevitable Sherri-Parker interaction.  That occurs after a Heat hot tag as Sherri seduces Parker in the unused ring, allowing the Nasty Boys to hit Slater with a boot to avenge his interference on Main Event and the Heat regain the titles.  Parker does not seem to care, though, as he kisses Sherri in the other ring.  Rating:  *

After the match, Okerlund interviews Buck, Slater, and Parker.  Buck tells Parker that the grass is not greener for him anymore, but Parker says he has a woman and will get them another title shot.

Okerlund interviews Arn Anderson, who says he will give Ric Flair all he can handle.

Arn Anderson (21-10-2) pins Ric Flair (11-2) after a DDT at 23:01:

In the second heel-versus-heel match of the evening, the crowd sides with Anderson since he has been presented as the wrestler with something to prove.  Brian Pillman, the American Males, Colonel Robert Parker, Alex Wright, Eddy Guerrero, and Big Bubba Rogers are shown in the crowd watching, lending the bout a big fight feel.  After seeing these two aligned at the hip for much of their careers it is jarring to see them wrestling.  And the match is fantastic, with Anderson countering Flair’s every move in the beginning and working the arm and Flair pulling out all the stops, including a dive off the top rope onto Anderson on the arena floor.  Drama surrounds the figure-four near the end as Anderson holds up Flair’s leg to block it and when that fails, reverses it to a big pop.  That appears to be for naught as Flair keeps up the assault on Anderson’s knee, but Pillman comes from out of the crowd, kicks Flair in the back of the head, and Anderson hits the DDT, securing the three count to arguably the largest pop of his life.  This match was a great mixture of psychology and controlling the crowd, living up to the hype it received before the show.  Rating:  ****

A video package hypes the Hulkamaniacs-Dungeon of Doom WarGames match.

Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting, Lex Luger, and Jimmy Hart.  Hart is sporting an American flag because evidently the Dungeon of Doom are a crew of foreign fanatics.  Hogan says his team is ready to fight because they drank a lot of Agent Orange.  Hogan and Savage’s promo skills put Sting to shame, as he spazzes out about wanting to tear the Dungeon of Doom apart.  It is also funny to see Hogan question whether Luger is American made as Luger was wearing American tights in the WWF for the last two years.  But Hogan is a trendsetter as he drops a “DTA:  Don’t Trust Anybody” a few years before Steve Austin would use it.

WarGames Match:  Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger defeat Kamala, the Shark, the Zodiac & Meng (w/Kevin Sullivan) when Hogan forces the Zodiac to submit to a rear chinlock at 18:43:

Sting and the Shark start, putting on a decent five-minute match as Sting flies from one ring to the other to make a clothesline and Shark hilariously trying to do that spot later and not making it, splaying himself across the ropes of both rings.  The babyfaces fail to win another WarGames coin toss, giving fans the usual formula of heel two-on-one beatdowns and babyface equalizations.  The cages are so low that Savage cannot do his big aerial moves, something WCW should have thought of when creating the structure.  And nothing to note happens until Luger inadvertently clotheslines Savage before the last men enter the match, causing the two to fight as Sting tries to break it up.  When Hogan comes in as the last man, he intelligently brings powder with him and tosses it in the eyes of various Dungeon members.  After some aimless brawling, Hogan puts the Zodiac in a rear chinlock and that is enough for a win.  If anything, Hogan just took advantage of the Zodiac’s condition since the poor guy can only say yes and no.  Oh, and that golden spike that was supposed to help the Dungeon?  It was never used!  Rating:  *

After the match, Sullivan tries to run away so he does not have to face Hogan for five minutes.  Hogan dominates until the Giant walks out, gets in the cage, and appears to break Hogan’s neck after twisting it.

The Last Word:  This pay-per-view was very hit and miss.  The opener and Ric Flair-Arn Anderson were great matches but the tag team title match and the WarGames were terrible.  WarGames usually ended feuds, but Hulk Hogan-the Giant seems penciled in stone for Halloween Havoc, so the Dungeon of Doom program is bound to continue for several more months.

Attendance:  6,600 (5,100 paid)

Buyrate:  0.48 (-0.05 over previous year; est. 85,000 buys)

Up Next:  Monday Nitro for September 18!