It’s another Stinker review next week, so as is usually the case I’ve decided to watch a show I actually like this week because I sometimes deserve nice things too!
WCW was still a distant second to the WWF when this show took place, but they had a few things going for them that might have led to a concerted revival in their fortunes. Firstly, Bill Watts’ reign of terror had finally come to an end after his big mouth had written a racist cheque that Turner wasn’t prepared to cash, so they would be permitted to present a more modern product again. Secondly, Ric Flair was returning to WCW after a stint in the WWF, which would hopefully give the company a much needed shot in the arm. Thirdly, British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith had climbed aboard the WCW ship after being booted out of the WWF for a supposed drug failure, meaning that WCW could grab themselves a stronger foothold in Europe, which had become a lucrative territory for the WWF in recent years.
Of course, the new management brought with them a slew of additional issues and it took Flair stepping up and bailing the company out at Starrcade later that year for WCW to see out 1993 in one piece, which led to them bringing in Hulk Hogan to the company in 1994. However, for their first pay per view effort of 1993, WCW more than delivered.
The Main Event for this show is a strap match between Vader and Sting (Set up by Sting visiting Vader in his White Castle of Fear. No, I’m not kidding) along with The Great Muta flying in to defend the NWA Title against Barry Windham. In addition to that we’ve got The Heavenly Bodies and Rock ‘n’ Roll Express paying WCW a visit from Smokey Mountain Wrestling in one of the last deals that Watts brokered before his run came to an end.
So without further ado, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!
This time out we look at one of WCW’s gala events in the form of SuperBrawl. Indeed, for some within WCW itself, SuperBrawl was actually the event they considered to be the biggest event of the year, even bigger than Starrcade. This mostly was the case when Eric Bischoff took over, as he’s gone on record saying he never really cared for Starrcade due to it happening in December and preferred SuperBrawl’s February date.
SuperBrawl was generally a decent effort from WCW, and usually saw some pretty newsworthy big matches, such as Hollywood Hogan battling with Roddy Piper, Sting and Ric Flair in 97, 98 and 99 respectively. One SuperBrawl event in particular ended up dominating the list however, but in my defence you could probably make an argument for it being the best pay per view event WCW ever put on!
As always, these are just my own personal picks. This isn’t supposed to be some sort of objective list or anything. If I leave out a match that you think warrants inclusion, then please feel free to put it down in the comments section below. As with previous lists, I’ll be listing the matches in chronological order.
SuperBrawl Revenge Date: February 18, 2001 Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee Attendance: 4,395 Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson
I’m still not sure what the REVENGE subtitle is referring to but it might be due to the fact that we’ve seen several of these matches on TV in recent weeks. The main event is Kevin Nash challenging Scott Steiner for the World Title in a match we saw just six days ago on Nitro. Let’s get to it.
SuperBrawl 2000 Date: February 20, 2000 Location: Cow Palace, San Francisco, California Attendance: 8,569 Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden, Mike Tenay
Well the TV shows have been some of the least interesting things I’ve ever had to sit through, so maybe the pay per view will be the complete opposite and be entertaining. I mean, stranger things have happened right? The main events tonight are Sid Vicious defending the World Title against Jeff Jarrett and Scott Hall in a three way, plus Hogan vs. Luger and Funk vs. Flair because they haven’t replaced the Radicalz, but these old guys are still going to be fighting each other no matter who else is on the card. Let’s get to it.
Out on the prison island of Alcatraz, RODDY PIPER, panting like a post-coital dog, informs A SECURITY GUARD that he knows the way. Screaming, he rushes through the gate, looking dishevelled. “I didn’t spend 7 days from hell for NOTHING!” I’d reckon wearing a skirt in prison probably wasn’t the smartest thing h could have done, but there’s not much of this plan that I believe he thought through.
LIVE from San Francisco, this is Superbrawl! DUSTY RHODES, TONY SCHIAVONE, and “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN are the A-Team tonight. Heenan screams about the escape from Alcatraz, and there’s a mad-man headed for Hollywood. Is everyone under the impression that Alcatraz is an active prison?
SYXX (0-1-0) vs. DEAN MALENKO (9-1-2) (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)
Syxx is wearing the gold, having stolen it from Malenko during last week’s match. I’d probably find it a much more heinous act if Malenko had ever bothered to defend the damn thing, but seeing as how this is the only way to goad him into a title match, good work Syxx. Malenko marches to the ring, completely focused, by wearing the exact same look on his face he always does. Thankfully, his actions are intense, as Syxx takes a man-sized beating right off the bell. Dean has a chance to win early, but opts to pull the challenger up at 2. Syxx throws some weak right hands, and even tries a bitch slap, but Malenko continues the assault, accentuated with a nasty powerslam for 2. The fans start a “1-2-3” “SUCKS!” duel, while he misses a Thesz press and puts himself in a tree of woe. Malenko dropkicks Syxx from the upside down position and goes for the Cloverleaf. Syxx shoves off, so a pissed off Dean sends him to the floor with a crossbody block, Cactus Jack style. Malenko heads over to Dave Penzer and takes his belt back, showing it off in front of Syxx’s face. Syxx tries a jumping spin kick on the floor, but Malenko ducks and decks him again. Back in the ring, Syxx finally hits his first move, with a backwards enzuigiri. Finally, with a chance to embarrass the man, Syxx hits the Bronco Buster, getting an audible groan from the crowd since this is still a relatively fresh move. A sleeper hold is applied, but Malenko drops forward, sending Syxx’s face into the buckle to break. He shakes it off and puts the sleeper back on. A backdrop suplex allows an escape, and Dean gets 2. Both guys are seeing stars, but it’s Syxx who recovers first, laying in some nasty chops. Malenko is laid out across the apron, and Syxx drops an elbow from the top rope, across the exposed throat. A brainbuster gives Syxx a chance to go high risk again, and a guillotine legdrop gets 2. The neck is clearly the target now, so Syxx goes to the sleeper hold one more time, and this time Malenko drops to the mat and is fading fast. Syxx loosens for just a sec, and that’s all Malenko needs to fight to his feet and drive Syxx backwards into the buckle. Malenko slaps on his own sleeper, but he’s still groggy, and they wind up headbutting each other. Syxx is up first and heads up top, but Malenko crotches him to a good pop. Dean tries a backdrop superplex, but Syxx twists mid-move and crossbodies Malenko, turning the impact on the champ. Syxx grabs the belt, but that draws in EDDIE GUERRERO who’s had enough of this kleptomaniac shit. They get into a tug-o-war which Malenko joins from the other side, pulling Syxx’s other arm. It’s Eddie who accidently lets go, and the belt flies back, smacking Malenko in the face HARD! Guerrero can’t believe what he’s done, and it’s made worse as Syxx gets the pin at 12:02. I really want to believe this is the spark the division needs to get back on track, but considering Syxx never really wrestles, I’m not optimistic. Good match, though. ***
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND shills the hotline, carrying on about potential new nWo members he saw having breakfast with Eric Bischoff. If this is legit, shouldn’t the ever scheming Gene do the right thing and report it to his WCW superiors so they can take some sort of action? I’d be real sick of the mustachioed scumbag profiting off my company’s internal dissention when he has information that could be vital in STOPPING it. Anyway, speaking of the nWo, DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE is going to face an unknown member of the gang with Big Bubba on the sidelines. Page figures it’s not as unknown as all that, because Hogan’s busy with Piper, Hall and Nash are tied up with The Giant, Syxx doesn’t have the guts to pull double duty … so basically, a member of the C-team. DDP narrows it down to Buff Bagwell, and Gene gets word in his ear at that very moment in time that yes, that’s exactly who it is. I would have used nWo Sting, he’s gotta be fresh as hell, he hasn’t wrestled in months.
KONAN, LA PARKA, and VILLANO 4 vs. CICLOPE, JUVENTUD GUERRERA, and SUPER CALO
MIKE TENAY bolts out of the bathroom mid-stream at the first whiff of Lucha to join the announce team. I’m with ya Mike, I love a good Latino fly-fest as much as anyone, but I absolutely abhor these random pairings. Konan’s Dungeon 4 Life, and while La Parka would make a fine addition to the legion of freaks, I’m not thinking he’s even had a tour of the cave yet. Has The Master signed off on these new friends? Do they play well with Maxx? On the other side, I can’t begin to imagine Super Calo having anything in common with Ciclope. How is he to wear unmovable sunglasses with just one eye? This simply won’t do. Tony compares Piper’s arrival tonight to that of an earthquake. Really, Tony? In THIS city? Ciclope and Villano 4 kick off our Worldwide special, and they’re both awful. T he fans start to file off to the concessions, so they trade off to Juvi and Konan, generating a small buzz. A tumbleweed clothesline drops the Juice, but Juvi comes right back with a rana. A springboard dropkick catches Konan in the chest, but Konan retaliates with a wheelbarrow suplex. With Juvi down, Ciclope is subsequently killed with a powerbomb. Calo hangs himself in a tree of woe for some reason, but maybe that was the plan, because he moves as La Parka charges, and the skeleton bangs the buckle. Calo, moving fast, hits a springboard headscissors takeover. La Parka misses a dropkick, and flies through the ropes to the floor. Calo is right behind with a slingshot somersault plancha, without so much as moving the sunglasses or hat! A second high flying move completely fails, as is the norm, so Parka puts him on a well placed chair and hits him with tope suicida! Back in, Villano 4 and Ciclope pair off again to be completely terrible for awhile. Ciclope tries a springboard corkscrew plancha, but he slips during his slow climb to the top of the ropes, and promptly slips as soon as he gets up there. This grows cumbersome, so Juvi comes in to liven things up with a Firebird splash on the Villano for 2. Juvi lays in the chops, but Villano just makes angry faces. Somehow, he completely misses that La Parka’s on his way back in with a La Parkinator for 2! He pulls Juvi back up to the top, but Juice shoves him off, crotching Parka on the middle rope before hitting a springboard rana for 2! Konan rushes in, and picks up Juvi for a Hart Attack with help from Villano. They both work a surfboard together, but Ciclope and Calo help their buddy, rolling the pair back into a cradle submission hold. Their shoulders wind up down, so they’re forced to release lest they be pinned. Konan tosses Juvi to the outside with ease, and then with Villano applies a Star on the other two guys. Juvi comes to save, but Parka powerbombs him and locks on the Rito Romero special in the middle of the Star. It breaks up, while Heenan offers $1000 to the other guys to tell us who’s legal. Some combination of the various teams all hit suicide dives on the other three guys on the floor, and I doubt anyone even knows who’s on whose team at this point. Konan and Juvi wind up back in together, where Splash Mountain finally ends this mess at 9:55. Good god what a trainwreck. The biggest problem with a lot of the fancier submission moves (the group ones in particular) is just how phony they look. I don’t think anyone would ever mistake wrestling for MMA, but a hint of realism is nice. The rest was your usual high flying stuff, without the smoothness of a Rey Jr or Ultimo Dragon – and really illustrated the difference between the genuine top international guys, and the phony baloney players who probably would have been best served staying back in AAA where they’d be better appreciated. *1/2
REY MYSTERIO JR. (7-2-2) vs. PRINCE IAUKEA (2-1-0) (for the WCW world television title)
Rey gets a huge pop from the rabid fans, while Prince Iaukea is met with dead silence. During his entrance, if the music hadn’t been pumped up, I’m not convinced someone relieving their nachos in the men’s room couldn’t have been heard reverberating throughout the arena. So, as a means to try and come to terms with WCW’s boneheaded decision to put the TV title on this goon, I checked out Iaukea’s Wikipedia page. First and foremost, Kevin Sullivan is clearly established as the man behind Iaukea’s push, so I’d owe Bischoff an apology for my swear filled rant on Monday, except he signed off on it so fuck him. Secondly, he’s got one of those pages that I’m convinced was written by a family member. It reads, and I quote:
Prince Iaukea debuted on WCW TV in 1996 and quickly made a name for himself with his unique Samoan persona and real submission wrestling skills along with solid pro wrestling ability.
Now, if you’ve been reading along with me for the last couple of years, you’ll know that I’ve recapped *everything*, short of WCW Pro which I simply don’t have access to. In that time, Prince Iaukea has appeared in maybe 3-4 recaps, total, and usually as part of and “Already in the Ring” 3 or 4-man tag about to be destroyed by the Dungeon of Doom. So, unless he tore up the WCW Pro ranks (and I am going to go out on a short limb and say, no, he didn’t), there is absolutely nobody who knew who in the hell this guy was until he defeated Steven Regal. He’s a cruiserweight who doesn’t fly, he’s a mat specialist with no specialty, he channels Superfly at times without even a hint of his charisma, and the only unique character traits that differentiates him from, say, Todd Morton, is his stupid mullet-bun and lei. Now, if they’d played up a disturbing Furry fetish, explaining the Cheetah Kid is actually an extension of his personal choice of kink that he can’t control in the confines of a pro-wrestling ring and sometimes is forced to wrestle under the hood as a means to personal relief, I could get behind this push. In fact, the prospect of a horrified Steven Regal as the Cheetah Kid slowly stalks him, sexually entering to Divinyls is so delicious that now I’m genuinely upset this wasn’t explored.
But – the reality is that we’re stuck with Iaukea and his terrible, colorless matches, so let’s all hope Mysterio puts this to bed in short order so we can all move on with our lives. Tony calls Prince an underdog, which is the understatement of the year. Prince works a hammerlock, but Rey remembers Iaukea has no business in the same ring as him and dropkicks him in the face. Prince fires back with a superkick for 2, and Rey heads to the floor. Iaukea stands around making stupid karate moves (dude, you’re NOT Japanese), before hitting a plancha from the top of the buckle. Prince takes over the offense, while the fans start looking around for Sting.
That’s right, every eyeball in the building has more interest in looking at nothing at all, than Prince Iaukea. Prince hits a backbreaker and goes for the Superfly Splash, but Mysterio dropkicks him in the chest. Prince goes for a powerbomb, but takes a rana mid-move, sending him all the way to the floor. Prince takes his sweet time standing up, and Rey’s waiting, with a swinging dropkick to the face to greet him. Then, in one of the most impressive spots I’ve ever seen, Mysterio somehow does a suicide somersault plancha through the middle ropes, crushing Prince as he zips by fluidly. If you’ve only been watching wrestling these last 5 years or so, you couldn’t even begin to imagine what Mysterio used to bring to the table in his early 20’s. Back in, Rey hits a triple jump moonsault for 2, just because he can. Prince tries a powerslam, but Mysterio slides off the back and nails a spinning heel kick. Split-legged moonsault is up next, yielding another 2. Prince tries a hiptoss, but Mysterio bounces off the ropes and stays in, before heading up. Prince catches him this time with a super Samoan drop, and all the fans stand up as a very smart-looking STEVEN REGAL heads down to ring-side. Mysterio has recovered and sets up the West Coast Pop, but Regal pulls him off the apron, smacking his face into the side of the ring. Regal quickly rolls Rey in, and Prince gets the easy retention at 8:57. Prince refuses to take it this way, and hands the belt to Rey as the deserving champion. Tony: “Have we ever seen, in the history of our sport, a belt that nobody wanted?” Heenan: “Give it to me, it’s gotta be worth something!” Mysterio gives it back, because he’s not interested in giving the people what they really want. I can’t believe this experiment is going to continue another day. Jesus. **
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND reminds us to call the Hotline NOW, and introduces THE GIANT. The Giant is as aware as anyone about how badly the Outsiders drive, because they’re all about The Mind Games. So … it takes an evil genius to be a bad driver? When I blew out my horn from over-use last year, had my road rage been caused by the great minds of tomorrow? Everything’s upside down.
BUFF BAGWELL (1-0-0) vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE (6-1-0)
Page still hasn’t embraced his face turn, continuing to smoke his expensive cigars, and walk around like a self-involved asswipe, which is just getting him even more over as a result. Page starts Buff off with a bitch slap getting a monster pop from the fans who just can’t get enough of DDP these days. Buff heads for the comfort of the ropes, where he jaws with the fans and gets mad heat. I’ll say this for Bagwell; while most of the B-team converts have just continued to play the same characters and have fallen into the background, Bagwell has completely and totally transformed himself and run with the ball during the last couple of months. These two fought over the Lord of the Ring like 7 months ago, to absolutely no reaction – now the fans are hanging on their every move. Buff chokes Page in the ropes and talks trash. A tornado DDT plants Page, and gives Bagwell plenty of time to show off his newly roided physique to showers of boos. Page sneaks in a small package for 2, and an irate Bagwell gets into it with Scott Dickenson. In fact, he shoves Dickenson, who gives him a MONSTER shove right back and the fans lose their collective minds! Dickenson plays it for all it’s worth, backing Bagwell into the corner and just feeding it to him in a glorious display of finger waving, screaming, and basically putting him in his place. This distraction gives DDP plenty of time to get back to his feet, and one discus punch later takes Bagwell off his feet. A super atomic drop has Bagwell hopping around, clutching his groin, and Page hits a powerbomb for 2. A back elbow from Bagwell turns the tide, and he gets 2 with his feet on the ropes. A missed blind charge allows Page to roll Bagwell up for 2. Bagwell tries the 10 punch count-a-long, but Page gives him the snake eyes and calls for the Diamond Cutter. Bagwell counters with a backslide for 2, and hits a Fisherman’s suplex. Instead of a pin, he wants to embarrass Page, asking the referee to count him out instead as payback for Bubba’s injury. Page gets up, so Bagwell goes for a neckbreaker, but DDP reverses into the Diamond Cutter, drawing in SYXX, M WALLSTREET, VINCENT, and NICK PATRICK for the DQ at 9:49. Page takes off into the crowd, and celebrates with his thousands of new friends, who explode on the announcement that he’s the winner. Something was in the water here, because I thought this was awesome. ***1/2
CHRIS JERICHO (8-1-0) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (8-3-2) (for the WCW United States heavyweight title)
This should be absolutely fantastic, despite the fact that both guys have the personalities of damp tuna fish. As long as neither guy speaks, we should be in quality shape. Jericho works an armbar, just one of his 1004 holds. Eddie gets loose, and hits a side suplex. Jericho gives it right back with a backdrop suplex, before putting on an abdominal stretch. A bridged suplex gets 2, and while Eddie is able to elevate loose, Jericho uses that to backslide him for another 2. Standing vertical suplex gets 2, and Jericho’s in complete control. The Liontamer makes its debut here, but Eddie snaps loose with his leg strength. A reverse Torture Rack is up next, and Guerrero has nowhere to go. Jericho works it for awhile, before dropping down on the spine, and getting 2. Jericho looks shocked, but carries on. A springboard crossbody misses, and Eddie quickly delivers a NASTY powerbomb for 2! A brainbuster has Jericho in position for the Frog Splash, but Jericho rolls away and throws Eddie all the way back into the turnbuckle with a release German suplex! Jericho intentionally steps on Eddie’s head, showing a little heel buried inside there somewhere. Embrace it, Chris, let it all out. Indeed he does, crotching Eddie intentionally across the ropes, and dropkicking him to the floor. With Guerrero lying prone, Jericho catches him with a springboard splash all the way to the floor. Back in, Jericho goes for the missile dropkick, but Guerrero turns that into an atomic drop! Nicely done! Both guys hit each other with spinning heel kicks, and it’s Jericho up first with a powerslam for 2. Channelling his idol, Jericho is spot on with Sweet Chin Music. A groggy Guerrero fights off the assault from Jericho and goes for a tornado DDT, but with no mustard behind the move, Jericho calmly drops backwards with a bridged slam for 2! Jericho goes for a powerbomb, but Eddie rolls forward with a sunset flip, and scores an unexpected pinfall at 12:04. I actually didn’t see that finish coming, because these guys were bringing it and probably deserved another 10 minutes and a more creative end to the match. Eddie and Jericho hug it out, and while I am just waiting for Jericho to kick him in the pooter, it never comes. Another strong match in a string of them tonight. ***1/2
THE FACES OF FEAR (4-1-1) vs. THE PUBLIC ENEMY (3-1-0) vs. HARLEM HEAT (8-1-2) (with Sista Sherri)
Folks, it’s rare that grand, life changing opportunities present themselves. One of those days is upon us. If you happen to live in the Flushing, New York area, then I need you to hang on tightly to your skivvies because the legendary Faces of Fear are making an appearance for the low, low price of $40. I’m planning on being there as soon as I can convince my wife it’s a great idea to make a 20-hour round-trip drive in the span of a single weekend; but let’s be honest, that won’t take any convincing. I mean, we’re talking about the most savage warriors in the history of mankind. Rocco Rock has shaved his head, and he looks like the focal point of a Bris. Barbarian starts with the human circumcision, and you can take one guess who wins that war. Stevie Ray tags himself in, and he manages to make a press slam look like a shooting star press in terms of difficulty. The bicycle kick means Stevie’s officially out of moves, so he tags in Booker, who hits Grunge with an axe kick. 110th street slam sets up the spinaroonie into the Harlem sidekick, and Booker’s quickly winning the fans over here. That ends abruptly when Barbarian kicks him in the face while standing on the apron, and Meng tags himself in. The Fear start some “HEAVY CLUBBERIN`” before putting Booker on top. Barbarian throws him into next week, because not only is he one of the two greatest wrestlers in the world, but he also defies the laws of time and space. Meng comes back in and starts screaming in Tongan before giving Booker the spike piledriver. The double headbutt cause Booker’s eyes to roll, and they ain’t done by a long shot. A backdrop sends Booker into the awaiting arms of Barbarian, who howls to the heavens like a hungry coyote while delivering a vicious powerbomb.
“WHAT POWER” understates Tony Schiavone, while Stevie Ray saves the day. Booker blindly tags out to Johnny Grunge, but before he leaves Barbarian wishes him a good night by giving him a Kick of Fear over the top rope. Stevie Ray angrily rushes in to defend his brother’s honor, and he takes a Kick of Fear from Meng. Barbarian spies the bald monkey Rocco prepping to do something stupid, so he just picks him up by the legs and starts planning all sorts of unspeakable horror. Johnny Grunge flies off the top, with both guys falling on top of Barbarian, and … gets the pin at 7:46?!?! What the flippity fuck? After a clinic like that from the Barbarian, and his awesome partner Meng, who quite frankly is one of the two best wrestlers in the world, we’re still trying this crap? I hope this stupid company gets sold in 4 years and dies a horrible death. This was easily an 8 and a half star affair before the finish, but that knocked off nearly a half dozen, so we’ll settle in somewhere around the *** range. The US had better pray the isle of Tonga never declares war, because despite having a range of military weapons ranging from birch bark canoes and some fairly threatening poisonous plants, these two alone might be enough to take down the entire nation with their bare hands.
MONGO MCMICHAEL (1-1-0) (with Debra McMichael) vs. JEFF JARRETT (9-1-0)
If Jarrett wins, he’s a Horsemen. If he loses, we’ll continue to run this insipid angle for another 8 months. There are no victories tonight, folks. Jarrett gets cocky, taking a break on the ropes like a hammock, which probably isn’t wise against a loose cannon like Mongo. A powerslam sets up a pair of 3 point stance clips, and Jarrett hits the deck. Mongo’s hot on his tail, but Debra asks him to relax, giving Jarrett a chance to land a cheap shot. Jarrett puts on an abdominal stretch, using the ropes for leverage, but Debra smacks his hands with the Haliburton because she wants a fair match. Mongo hiptosses Jeff away, and after threatening to military slam him to the floor (where a pleading Debra makes him stop), he slams him mid ring and clotheslines him over the top. Debra wipes Jarrett down, but that just draws a super irate Mongo over to choke his ass out with the same towel. Back in, Jarrett dodges a backdrop and hits a faceplant, pointing to his head because he’s a Super Genius. Of course, a Super Genius might know better than to mess with a man’s wife right in front of him – but this was just child’s play before hopping into bed with Karen Angle. Mongo works a sleeper, but Jarrett hits a backdrop suplex to escape, and both guys are out. Debra: “I don’t know which one to help!” Mongo winds up helping himself, hitting a sidewalk slam, followed by a Rock Bottom for 2. Jarrett gets in a cheap shot and comes off the top with a crossbody for 2. During the kickout, Jarrett’s hand accidently decks the referee, and Mongo immediately calls for the briefcase. Debra refuses, so Mongo grabs her by the back of the hair. She throws it wildly backwards, into the awaiting arms of Jeff Jarrett, who waffles Mongo and scores the pin at 8:13. Heenan: “I SMELL DIVORCE!” Jarrett celebrates his induction to the group who wants nothing to do with him, while Debra tries to revive her fallen husband. **
KEVIN SULLIVAN (7-1-0) (with Jimmy Hart and Jacqueline) vs. CHRIS BENOIT (6-3-0) (with Woman) (in a San Francisco death match)
If our creepiness scale with the entire Benoit story needed another layer, here he is with Woman in a Death Match. Woman and Jackie are strapped together, and they start scrapping on the floor to a massive reaction. You know, for all the hate I have for Kevin Sullivan, the heat is off the charts every single time he steps in the ring with Benoit. Benoit chops the old man into North Carolina BBQ, but Jackie cuts him off when he goes for the swandive. Sullivan pounds Benoit with repeated shots to the face, and Jackie comes after her. Woman cuts that off, whipping Jackie repeatedly. Sullivan throws himself in the middle, so Woman uses the strap as a genital mutilator, and Sullivan drops like a rock. Benoit heads over to check on his lady, and Jackie starts whipping him with some ferocity! Sullivan rips the straps off the girls all together, and hangs Benoit over the top rope. I swear to god, if Jackie puts a bible at his feet, I’m going to have to start scrubbing him out of WCW history like a WWE DVD editor. Instead, she punts him in the crotch, while Woman beats down Kevin. The ladies strap themselves back together, and use the leather as a clothesline to take down both guys. Sullivan recovers first, and takes Chris to the floor where he’s sent face first into the guardrail. They both start trading chops, and nothing’s being held back here. The boys start heading through the crowd, and we know exactly where this is headed. But, the boys have a curveball tonight. Instead of moth balls and stale urine, they fight just outside the parking lot, taking turns hitting each other with a giant Rubbermaid garbage can. Eventually they head back down to ringside, and Sullivan ties Benoit to the tree of woe. The running knee sets up the Double Stomp, but Woman starts whipping him to stop any pinfall. He starts to stalk his ex, but Benoit spins him around, and gives him a spike piledriver with some force! The women continue to roll around, while Benoit grabs one of those super sturdy old cafeteria style tables from under the ring. It’s set up in the middle of the ring with Sullivan on top, so Jackie throws herself on top to save her man. Benoit has zero fucks to give about that, and splashes the both of them, where everyone bounces off while the table doesn’t budge! That’ll crack a rib! Benoit lies on Sullivan underneath the table, and that gets the pinfall at 8:35. They tried a new side to their old template, but this didn’t quite have the punch their previous matches did. ***
ARN ANDERSON comes out to survey the carnage, with both Jackie and Sullivan down and out. PAUL ORNDORFF, who we haven’t seen in about a year, also heads down to the ring, and he’s livid. He checks in on Kevin, screaming for help, drawing in … TERRY TAYLOR and LEE MARSHALL. Lee provides all sorts of assistance, such as giving exaggerated points and looking shocked. After several more minutes, 3 gurneys are wheeled down, taking Benoit, Sullivan, and Jackie away for medical help.
THE OUTSIDERS (2-1-0) (with Syxx) vs. THE GIANT (4-0-2) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
It seems almost illogical that in July, the Giant was the single most dominant force on the roster, yet WCW allowed their 3-man team at Bash at the Beach to be composed of a lottery drawing. Savage had nothing resembling momentum at that point, he could have been easily replaced, and WCW probably wins that match and stops the New World Order from happening before it even starts. Hall wins the Rock, Paper, Scissors draw for the 21st consecutive time, which either means Kevin Nash has the worst poker face on the planet, or Scott Hall is the world champion of Roshambo. Hall sizes up the competition, and decides his best course of action is to throw a toothpick at the Giant. Of course, that only serves to make the big man angry, so Hall’s forced to hide in his corner. Once the heat is off, Hall lays in a bunch of knees, but Giant shrugs him off and knocks him right down to the mat. Hall charges, right into the arms of Giant, who slams him and stares down Nash. Hall walks right up and hocks a massive loogie in the eyes of the Giant, and turns things over to big Kev. The fans buzz, because this was still at a time where the prospect of super heavyweights doing battle was always the most exciting thing in wrestling. Nash lunges, but Giant starts throwing dropkicks at both guys like a 500 pound Cruiserweight, and the ring is cleared while the fans warn Sting he’d best exit the rafters cuz they’re about to blow the roof off. Giant follows them to the floor, ramming Nash spine first into the ring post. Back in, an elbowdrop gets 2, saved by Hall. While Hall gets given a lecture about fair play, Syxx comes off the top rope with a tag-team belt to the face of the Giant. Nash nails a big boot, allowing Hall to hit a bulldog off the top, and Nash dives in for 2. The fans chant for Luger while Syxx holds Giant hostage allowing the Outsiders to take turns laying in shots. Giant continues to fight back, and succeeds in knocking them both down with a pair of big boots. Syxx heads to the top rope, but Giant catches him this time and throws the pipsqueak at Nash like a weapon. Hall grabs the belt and nails Giant upside the head, and Giant falls into the arms of Nash who powerbombs him!!!!! LEX LUGER’s seen all he can stands, but ERIC BISCHOFF’s right behind him, waving his arms to alert him there’s no way he’s getting involved. Luger grabs him by the hair and throws him into the guardrail, and the fans are having multiple orgasms at this point. Luger leaps on the apron begging for a tag – and while history tells me I should be feeling VERY uneasy about this, Luger stays true to WCW and issues clotheslines to everyone! Nash, back destroyed from the powerbomb, gets caught in the Rack, and he taps immediately giving us NEW tag-team champions at 8:56! Just for the hell of it, Giant chokeslams Hall and demands a 3-count before both guys celebrate with the tag-team titles. Sadly, in light of the precedent set last month at Souled Out, they best not get too comfortable with them because you know this is getting reversed on Nitro tomorrow. **
HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (0-1-2) (with Ted Dibiase and Vincent) vs. RODDY PIPER (for the WCW world heavyweight title)
Piper arrives, absolutely filthy. Tell me something, why would his shirt be ripped in a bunch of places? It was just a week for god sakes; I see contestants on Survivor go home looking better than Hot Rod. Hogan cracks me up by stealing Piper’s kilt as soon as Roddy takes it off, and wiping his nose with it. Piper mumbles to himself, which everyone assumes is Gaelic. I think we’ll need to bring in Mr. and Mrs. Murray to get to the bottom of this once more on WCW Saturday Night this week. Off the bell, Hogan decides he’s not much interested in wrestling a man that smells as bad as Piper, and walks away. No kidding! Personal hygiene is just common courtesy. Piper hauls him back into the ring, and uppercuts the Hulkster right in the BrookeMaker. That’s followed by more classic wrestling holds, such as the choke with the shirt, and the gentle chair tap. Back in, Hogan goes low, but to quote Tony Schiavone: “HE DIDN’T EVEN FEEL IT!” Instead, he jumps on Hogan’s back, and paying homage to Lou Thesz, he bites Hogan in the eye. M WALLSTREET rushes in, but Piper knocks him out before he makes it over the ropes. Piper digs deep, remembering the lessons of Pat O’Connor, and pokes Hogan in the eyes. Of course, tributes wouldn’t be complete without harkening back to the days of George Hackenschmidt, where Piper hits a thundering Bear Clap. Hogan tries to leave again, but Piper hauls him back by the tights, revealing Hogan’s milky white ass. Hogan takes an atomic drop setup, but gets dropped on the top rope. STING and RANDY SAVAGE show up in the aisle now, and Savage wants to hit the ring. Sting tells him not tonight, and they turn away … except Sting misses that Savage has simply spun in a full circle and is heading back to ringside. Hogan gets control for the first time, throwing a series of punches, while Sting has continued to stand on the top of the ramp, staring coldly at the ring. Finally, he gets annoyed and leaves, but Savage keeps his position at ringside, cheering Piper on. Hogan rams Piper’s back into the ring post, and starts working over the hip. He heads back in, but Piper’s still got energy, clawing at Hogan’s eyes. Hogan stops him, and locks on a bear hug while talking shit to Savage the entire time. Piper drops, and Hogan decides to go for the Big Leg Drop – but he moves! Piper hammers at the champ, and puts on the Sleeper!! Hogan fights, but he drops to the mat, and Piper squeezes harder! The arm drops 3 times, and Piper is unbelievably announced as the World’s Heavyweight Champion at 10:19!!! But wait – Savage drags Hogan under the ropes AFTER the bell, and somehow the referee decides that, yes, his foot MUST have been under the ropes and thus the match continues. Savage slips a pair of brass knucks to Hogan, and Hollywood decks Roddy scoring the pin and retaining the belt at 11:00. Hogan and Savage break into a huge hug. What … the … fuck.
No. Just no. Hogan spent months torturing Savage with Liz, had his group beat him senseless on multiple occasions, destroyed his self-confidence, and pretty much ruined his life. While I watch Savage drop elbow after elbow on Piper, while Hogan joins in with non-stop legdrops, I’m not confused. I’m disgusted. This is lazy, miserable booking, because they put themselves in a corner where Piper couldn’t lose. And yes, Hogan and Savage are best friends in real life – but they have YEARS to kiss and make up when the wounds of the last war aren’t so bloody fresh. I’ve had enough of the nWo, they’ve literally taken over the company as they promised, but in the process they’ve made the main event angles completely unwatchable.
I’m reminded to tune in to Nitro, and I’ll have to make that decision later because I’m too annoyed.
Oh, and -* for the main event. Both guys should be embarrassed. I know I am.
SuperBrawl 1999 Date: February 21, 1999 Location: Oakland Arena, Oakland, California Attendance: 15,880 Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’ve been building to this one for awhile now and to WCW’s credit, I’m kind of interested in how the show goes. The feuds have been well built and if there’s ever been a night that can turn WCW around before the abyss, it’s this one. Everything is in place for the good guys to go over and for all the heels to get what’s coming to them. Unfortunately, something tells me I have a better chance of winning Miss America 1983 than that happening. Let’s get to it.
We open with a clip from Thunder, showing the Blonde in a bed sheet being given tickets to SuperBrawl. It’s also implied that she’s been shocking him with the taser.
Opening video focusing on people winning the World Title over the last year or two and how Hogan ruined what the belt meant.
The set looks a lot like the Nitro set but with no ramp.
The announcers talk about the show a little bit.
We recap the Tag Team Title tournament and how many teams have split up on the way. Tonight the Horsemen have to beat Barry Windham and Curt Hennig twice in a row to become champions.
The title belts are in a glass case in front of the entrance.
Gene says call the Hotline.
Disco Inferno vs. Booker T.
This was added on Thunder due to Disco interrupting Booker trying to get Stevie to leave Harlem Heat and getting shoved for his efforts. Disco cost Booker a match later in the night. They stall to start as Tony finally admits that the main story is no longer about tradition vs. NWO but rather good vs. evil. In other words, what wrestling has been since it got started. Booker elbows him in the face to start but gets kneed in the ribs. The crowd is REALLY hot tonight. Disco hits a swinging neckbreaker but Booker is right back up.
A slam puts Disco down but he walks into an armdrag. Booker gives a look that says “you got me” so Disco dances in the corner. That earns him a bunch of right hands to the face and some loud chops for good measure. The flying forearm gets two but Disco nails a knee to the ribs and puts on a sleeper. Booker fights out but misses the side kick and gets clotheslined out to the floor.
After sending Booker into the steps, Disco takes him back inside for the dancing elbow drop and two. Booker comes right back with the spinning kick to the face and the ax kick. Disco goes up and jumps into the whip spinebuster but he comes right back with a hard running clothesline. The Chartbuster is countered into a belly to back suplex and Booker spins up. Another side kick drops Disco but he pops up again as Booker goes up top. Booker shoves him down and nails the Harlem Hangover to finally get the pin.
Rating: B-. Who would have thought this would have been this good? Booker T. is one of the few bright spots in what is becoming a dreadful WCW. He goes out there, puts on consistently decent to good matches and doesn’t get dragged down into bad storylines. I’m glad he got a spot on the card here as he’s more than earned it. Hopefully he gets a better push soon. Disco looked good out there too. His in ring work is always forgotten and that’s a shame.
Chris Jericho vs. Saturn
Loser wears a dress, or has to keep wearing a dress depending on who loses. Ralphus is still in the pink dress and Scott Dickinson is coming out with Jericho. Saturn’s dress is a bit more form fitting this time and the top half is the same as a lot of wrestlers’ singlets. Dickinson is refereeing because WCW’s bosses don’t think these things through. After the bell, Jericho says Saturn looks ridiculous and calls him a cross eyed cross dressing freak. Saturn is even an embarrassment to Ralphus. Saturn finally has had enough and he lays out Jericho with a backdrop to the floor.
Jericho gets whipped into the barricade twice and Saturn dives off said barricade with an ax handle to the head. A soda to the head thankfully has no effect on Saturn but a whip into the barricade works a bit better. Back inside with Saturn grabbing a t-bone suplex as Tony and Bobby continue to interrupt each other in a joke that has gone on all show now. Saturn catapults Jericho back to the floor and follows him with a nice plancha.
Now Saturn sends Ralphus into the ring and rips the dress off of him, which might be an improvement. Jericho uses the distraction to kick Saturn down, only to be taken to the mat and have his head rammed into the canvas. Dickinson hasn’t been a factor at all yet. Jericho blocks another plancha but he jumps off the top and into Saturn’s boot. Saturn hits a frog splash for no cover but Jericho grabs a rollup for two.
In the corner and Saturn wraps the bottom of his dress over Jericho’s head and hammers away. Saturn rolls through a cross body and puts on the Rings of Saturn but Jericho gets his feet in the ropes. A Falcon’s Arrow from Saturn looks to set up the Lionsault but Jericho rolls away and hits the real version for two. Jericho is frustrated and walks into the Death Valley Driver. Saturn hits another one on Dickinson….and walks out for the countout. Or is it a DQ? Penzer says countout so we’ll go with that.
Rating: C. Good match here but the ending stops whatever they had going. More importantly though, what in the world was the point of Dickinson? He was evil, got suspended, came back and did absolutely nothing. The match was good enough, but I don’t see why you don’t give Saturn a clean win here.
Konnan and Rey are ready for the hair vs. mask match later. Rey slammed Luger’s arm in a car door on Thursday. These are the kind of guys that should have been in the tournament if it was actually something serious.
We recap Page vs. Steiner. Scott claims that Kimberly wants him so he threw her out of a moving car. Steiner then sued Page for $1 million for emotional damages. Tonight it’s Steiner’s title vs. 30 days with Kimberly. Why Page would agree to adding that is beyond me.
Cruiserweight Title: Kidman vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo is challenging after turning heel due to the team performing badly in the tournament. A hurricanrana and armdrag drop Chavo before a dropkick sends him to the floor. Back in and another clothesline sends Chavo back to the floor for more stalling. Kidman gets tired of waiting and baseball slides Guerrero into the barricade. Tony tells us that Luger is out of the hair vs. mask match later due to a biceps injury caused by Rey’s attack on Thunder but Nash has a replacement partner.
Kidman tries another dive but only hits steel to give Guerrero control. Back in and the brainbuster gets two for the challenger and we hit the chinlock. Kidman gets sent to the floor and Chavo follows him out with a big flip dive. Back in and Kidman backdrops his way out of a powerbomb attempt but he comes up favoring his back.
Chavo goes up, only to dive into a dropkick to the ribs. Kidman can’t follow up though and Chavo grabs a top rope hurricanrana for two. The BK Bomb connects for two but Chavo pops back up and tries a powerbomb. He deserves the faceplant he gets and Kidman hits the Shooting Star to retain. To continue Tony’s odd way of saying things, he said Kidman dragged Chavo to the corner “for proximity purposes.”
Rating: B-. Another good match here as you would expect from these two. Chavo is a good worker in the ring and now that he’s just a guy instead of being completely insane he’ll be able to showcase that a lot more. Kidman is getting really close to being a great champion but he has to face Mysterio at some point to cement that status.
Video on Goldberg vs. Bigelow.
Tag Team Titles: Curt Hennig/Barry Windham vs. Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit
This is a tournament final, but since it’s double elimination and only Hennig/Windham are undefeated, Malenko and Benoit have to win two matches in a row. If Hennig and Windham win the first fall, they win the belts. Benoit and Malenko have already won three matches this week to get here. Heenan notices a nice plot point: you have current Horsemen against former Horsemen here.
Dean chases Windham around to start before they hit the mat to fight over hammerlocks. Off to Benoit vs. Hennig as the fans are still as hot as they were earlier in the night. Tony talks about Hennig, Malenko and Windham all being second generation wrestlers. Heenan: “So is referee Mickie Jay.” Tony: “Who was his father?” Heenan: “Oh he wasn’t a wrestling referee. He umpired a peewee football league in Moline, Illinois back in the 40s.”
Hennig chops Benoit in the corner so Benoit chops him so hard that Hennig falls to the mat. They slap it out and it turns into a fight in the corner. The running clothesline puts Hennig on the floor as Tony says Benoit has never been a champion before, meaning Benoit’s TV Title wins at house shows either don’t count, or Tony wasn’t informed of them. Barry comes back in and hammers away in the corner, only to get chopped right back.
Off to Malenko who dropkicks Windham into the ropes. Barry is a good two and a half feet from Hennig but Hennig comes in anyway. The referee puts him out but Windham gets in a cheap shot to take over. That was kind of an odd sequence. Hennig comes in legally and gets nailed by Dean, allowing him to roll to the corner for a hot tag to Benoit. Chris comes in and beats up both cowboys with ease and a backbreaker gets two on Curt.
A LOUD chop has Hennig in trouble and it’s back to Malenko for some shots in the corner. Heenan wants all car races to have no brakes because he likes his wrestling fast. Benoit nails the Swan Dive but Windham breaks up the cover. Curt gets crotches on the top rope and dropkicked out to the floor but comes back in with a low blow right in front of the referee. That’s perfectly fine with the son of a Moline football league umpire and Barry comes back in for two off a gutwrench suplex.
Dean gets sent to the floor and chopped up against the barricade for two back inside. Hennig gets sent into the corner as the fans think this is boring. Benoit takes Curt’s head off with a clothesline but Barry comes in with a cheap shot to take over. The superplex gets two as Dean makes the save and it’s back to Hennig for more chops. Hennig’s running neck snap gets two but Benoit finally rolls over and tags in Dean to clean house. Barry gets caught in the Cloverleaf and Benoit stops Hennig, forcing the submission for the first fall.
Since this is basically a two fall match I’ll save the rating for after the whole thing is done. There’s a thirty second rest period between falls.
Windham has taken his belt off and chokes Dean down, which there is no reason for the referee not to see. Barry keeps choking with the belt and pulls Dean to the mat for the pin and the titles.
Rating: C-. This match is proof that WCW just does not understand what it’s doing. After the last month of putting up with this way too complicated tournament where WCW didn’t even know who was in it half the time, we sit through a long yet good match where the Horsemen win, only to have them lose the second fall a minute later because it’s double elimination. Not only was the tournament boring, but now the ending makes people mad.
Who in the world thinks Hennig and Windham deserve Tag Team Titles? They’ve teamed together for all of a few weeks and now they get the belts after the Horsemen win four matches in a week to lose the last fall in a minute? This is bad storytelling and completely missing what your audience wants. Yeah Benoit and Malenko can come back and win them later, but all the momentum and the interest is gone now. Horrible decision and just a stupid move. For WCW to think Barry Windham is more valuable than Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko in 1999 is ridiculous.
As for the match itself, it wasn’t bad but the refereeing here was atrocious. There’s a difference between relaxing the rules a bit and having referees mean as much as ECW referees. When a guy is punching the other man low right in front of the referee, something should be done. Otherwise, why bother having them there?
We recap the US Title situation which went from Hart defending against Benoit to Roddy Piper defending against Scott Hall, and all it took was Will Sasso from MadTV. Yeah Benoit loses again because Roddy Piper needs this push.
Kevin Nash/??? vs. Konnan/Rey Mysterio Jr.
This is Rey’s mask vs. Liz’s hair due to Lex Luger bullying Rey. Nash’s mystery partner is….Scott Hall. Liz is looking great here in a short skirt, tight low cut red top to show off the surgery and thigh high boots. Luger is seconding the Outsiders. Heenan rants about how stupid he thinks Mysterio’s mask in the most heelish thing he’s said in a long time. I know Heenan is mean most of the time but it’s usually more sly than flat out mean.
Hall throws the toothpick at Mysterio so Rey throws it right back. Rey gets thrown down twice in a row but he comes back with a quick armdrag. A springboard seated senton (called a Thesz Press by Schiavone) drops Hall and Rey nails Nash with a forearm for good measure. He dives too many times though and gets caught in a fall away slam. Nash comes in and throws Rey down by the throat as Heenan keeps ripping into Mysterio about the mask.
Back to Hall for some clotheslines and you can clearly see a purple and yellow Razor Ramon elbow pad sticking out from under the Wolfpack pad. Rey escapes the Outsider’s Edge and tags in Konnan who hammers away until Nash gets in a cheap shot from the apron. There’s the big boot choke in the corner before it’s back to Hall as Rey plays cheerleader on the apron. Konnan fights back but a double clothesline puts he and Hall down. Liz and Luger seem to be plotting something on the floor.
Rey gets the tag and dropkicks both Outsiders before using Nash’s back as a launching pad to dropkick Hall a second time. Everything breaks down and the fans are getting back into it. Luger pulls Konnan to the floor and sends him into the steps as Rey hits a moonsault press on Nash, nailing him in the head with his knee to knock Kevin silly. Liz distracts the referee though, allowing Hall to give Rey the Edge and put Nash on top for the pin.
Rating: D. This wasn’t as long as the previous match but the ending is just as stupid. As soon as you knew Liz’s hair would be on the line you knew the NWO would win, but WCW’s stupidity continues as they think Rey is better without his mask. Heaven forbid you sell the thing and make a bunch of money off of it or something like that. Also the name King of Mystery doesn’t have quite the same meaning now. This is another match that didn’t need to happen and whose only purpose seems to be to disappoint the fans.
Rey unmasks and Nash tells him to put it back on. Mysterio looks very young.
TV Title: Scott Steiner vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Scott is defending and has been after Page’s wife Kimberly, including throwing her out of a car. Assuming this stipulation isn’t dropped, it’s title vs. 30 days with Kimberly here. Scott, sans Buff here, brings a girl in from the audience and gently kisses her after talking trash about Page. It’s a serious Page this time and the champion stalls on the floor to start. Page will have none of that and sends him into the barricade before they head inside.
Punches and choking have Steiner in early trouble but the referee drags Page off of him, allowing Scott to get in a rake to the eyes. They head outside again and both guys are sent into the barricade. Back in and Page scores with a top rope clothesline and a neckbreaker sends Scott back to the floor. Buff Bagwell runs out to give Steiner a pep talk but Page tells them both to come on. Both guys get atomic drops but the numbers game catches up to him as Steiner nails a clothesline.
Steiner chokes on the ropes and Buff gets in a few chokes of his own. Page gets tied in the Tree of Woe for even more choking. The fans are far quieter than they were about an hour ago. Interesting how having heels win matches they didn’t need to win over underdogs will do that to you. More punching in the corner has Page in trouble but he comes back with right hands of his own. A belly to belly gets two for Steiner but Page pulls the champions trunks halfway down on a rollup for two.
Steiner nails a backbreaker as Buff has put a chair in the corner. A big chair shot to the back (even Tony says the referee should have heard that) puts Page down and Bagwell uses some wire cutters to unhook the turnbuckle pads. Page hits a very low headbutt to escape the Recliner but the referee ejects Buff. A discus lariat puts Steiner on the floor and Page follows him out with a plancha.
That’s fine with Scott as he whips Page into the steps but takes too long going after the steps, allowing Page to nail Steiner with a clothesline. Back in and Page gets crotched on the top, setting up a top rope Frankensteiner for two. The Diamond Dream (jumping spinning DDT) drops Steiner but Page can’t follow up. Instead Steiner sends Page into the exposed buckle and GOOD GRIEF WHY DO WE HAVE REFEREES IF THEY JUST WATCH PEOPLE CHEAT??? Robinson ejected Bagwell for taking off the pad, saw Steiner move the middle pad, and then saw Page go into the buckle and is totally fine with it. Of course he is.
Steiner rams Page back first into the exposed buckle three times because there’s nothing wrong with that apparently. Page passes out in the Recliner. There’s no mention made of the 30 days with Kimberly, meaning that Thunder is even more useless now because the stipulations made on that show are completely forgotten three days later.
Rating: D. This would be the third straight match where the fan favorite and logical winner has been completely destroyed and at least the second match where the referee doesn’t seem to mind cheating at all. The fans are getting quieter and quieter every single match and I can’t blame them at all.
Heenan brings up the thirty days because he’s the only person there with a brain (maybe there’s something to that name after all) and Tony completely ignores him because continuity is a bad word in WCW.
Page is put in a neck brace and taken away on a stretcher, despite Steiner working over his back for most of the match. The fans chant “PAGE SUCKS” because he’s a hero who has been wronged, meaning he has absolutely no chance at winning a major match in this promotion.
Bam Bam Bigelow is with Mark Madden (who is actually fatter than Bigelow here) and says that this was his plan tonight as he’s gotten in Goldberg’s head and gotten a contract out of it.
US Title: Scott Hall vs. Roddy Piper
Piper is defending. Sign in the crowd: “Jericho, make the Wight choice.” Disco is here with Hall, who takes a full theme song before he comes through the entrance. Hall shoves Piper back and gets slapped in the face for his efforts. Roddy, seeming fine after the big beatdown on Monday, throws the kilt over Hall’s face and drags him down to the mat for early control. Some left hands drop Hall and a slow motion neckbreaker gets one.
Roddy pulls some of Hall’s hair out and knocks Disco off the apron. Hall does the comedic sell of some atomic drops before getting poked in the eyes. Piper is sent to the floor where Hall sends him face first into the steps. Back in and Hall hammers away before tying Piper up in the Tree of Woe. Disco gets in some choking and we hit the abdominal stretch with Inferno helping. Heenan actually gives us some insight: Disco pulling on the arm isn’t meant to hurt Piper, but to prevent him from hiptossing Hall.
The referee catches the cheating and stops it, followed by Piper immediately hiptssing Hall to escape. Score one for Heenan. The fans are just DEAD for this. Piper puts on the sleeper and no one cares. I mean I literally do not see one person on their feet or showing any happiness whatsoever. Nash comes in and the distraction lets Hall roll Piper up with his feet on the ropes for the pin.
Rating: F. If the fans are that silent about a title match, the match can only be considered a failure. On top of that, this is the match that we lost Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit for. Roddy Piper was the United States Champion in 1999 and lost it to Scott Hall. This was deemd a better choice than Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit. Let that sink in for a minute.
Piper won’t give up the belt post match until Disco takes it from him. Roddy tries to fight them off before bailing. Naturally no one is interested in helping the veteran because why would a good guy get any support?
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldberg
The fans go NUTS for Goldberg because they know they’ve finally got someone they can cheer for that can win. It’s in a meaningless match that should have headlined a Nitro in mid-December but on this show it’s exactly what we need. Goldberg is billed from Stone Mountain, Georgia here for the only time that I can remember.
Tony brings up the challenge that Goldberg made on the Tonight Show that shocked the world. Anyway the fans are…..oh you wanted to know what the challenge was? Well that’s not important enough for Tony to specify. Thanks to the magic of Youtube, the challenge was Goldberg challenging Steve Austin to a fight for $100k of Goldberg’s own money. This is the only time I’ve ever heard this mentioned and I never heard anything about this from anyone in the WWF, so I’m thinking this is WCW panicking and trying to get someone to notice them.
Quick sidebar here. In the clip from the Tonight Show, Goldberg says that people have been calling him a Steve Austin ripoff. I’ve heard people say this for years and it has to be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. Other than being bald and wearing black trunks, what do these two have in common? They have different styles, different physiques, they’re about as far apart on promos as you can possibly be (Goldberg barely talked for over a year), and Goldberg barely even has a character. Other than two on the surface characteristics and the timing, they’re about as opposite as you can be.
Anyway, on to the match. They get in each others’ faces and shout a lot (oh dear they’re both bald. I CAN’T TELL THEM APART BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM SO SIMILAR!) before Goldberg shoves Bigelow back. Bigelow hammers away but a shoulder only keeps Goldberg down for half a second. A delayed slam drops Bam Bam and sends him out to the floor. Back in and Goldberg nails a flying shoulder before hitting an FU and the worst looking cross armbreaker (it was missing the cross and the breaking parts) I’ve ever seen.
Bigelow rolls to the floor as the fans chant ECW. He trips up Goldberg and hits Goldberg low a few times, with the referee telling him to cut it out. Now Bigelow goes after Goldberg’s knee, wrapping it around the post and putting on a leg lock inside. Thank goodness they went this route instead of using the Goldberg formula. The fans were dangerously close to being entertaining.
We hit the chinlock for a bit before Goldberg fights up and slams Bigelow to get a breather. He can’t follow up though and Bam Bam nails a clothesline. The top rope headbutt connects for two before Goldberg wakes up and hits the spear, a superkick, another spear and the Jackhammer for the pin. He BARELY got Bigelow up.
Rating: D+. This was decent enough but I have no reason why Goldberg is out of the main event scene. He never got a rematch and never really talked about wanting revenge on the NWO. Instead he jumped back a month for his showdown with Bigelow that I don’t think many people cared for. Goldberg beating another monster is a fine idea, but wouldn’t Goldberg vs. Nash have made more sense? At least with Luger there’s a reason for Goldberg not to go after him.
WCW World Title: Hollywood Hogan vs. Ric Flair
Now, in a normal wrestling company, when the heels win almost every single major match, it would usually be a sign that we get a feel good moment to end the show. You might as well start making out Flair’s tombstone now. Flair comes in very calmly and it’s a slow start. A hard chop in the corner has Hogan in trouble but he takes Ric into the corner for some knees to the ribs. Flair gets backdropped and clotheslined in the corner as this is starting to look like Starrcade 1997.
They trade chops in the corner and Flair hits the knee drop. That’s more like it, but as soon as I say that Hogan hits a clothesline out of the corner. The Flair Flip in the corner sends Ric to the floor and a chair shot to the head busts him open. Back in and it’s all Hogan and he slams Flair off the top. Some elbow drops are no sold and Flair is ticked off. That lasts all of two seconds as Hogan nails him in the corner and whips him with the weightlifting belt.
Flair absorbs the shots…and is knocked down by a belt shot to the head. Ric chops away in the corner and Hogan HULKS UP. Thankfully Flair kicks him low (the referee is fine with it. Again.) and takes off the weightlifting belt to whip Hogan a few times. Now Hogan is bleeding so Flair bites at the cut. Cue the Blonde in a red dress (Tony recognizes her, which makes me wonder WHY HE NEVER MENTIONED IT IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS) to slap Flair.
Ric hammers away in the corner and gets two off a vertical suplex, but the referee is bumped on the kickout. Hogan elbows the referee for good measure before nailing Flair with the big boot. The legdrop misses though, but we’ve got a masked man. Flair is going after the leg and Heenan thinks the masked man is Bischoff. Whoever he is, he uses the taser on Flair and holds hands with the Blonde, giving Hogan the pin and the title.
Rating: F. I’ll get to the masked man and how stupid it is in a minute. The match was about what you would expect from a Hogan match at this point. The bigger problem though was the lack of a payoff. Flair has gotten destroyed every step of the way and now he gets beaten up in the big match. This is another example of a match that should have been a layup but instead of scoring, they beat themselves over the head with a brick. Horrible match and idea in general.
The masked man celebrates with Hogan and the Blonde. The mask comes off and it’s David Flair, because beating up, humiliating and beating up Ric Flair again wasn’t enough. The NWO celebrates to end the show.
Overall Rating: D-. You know what the worst part of this show is? The first fifty minutes. Those were some solid matches that got the crowd going and put them in a good mood. It’s a shame that no one is going to remember any of them because of how horrible the rest of the show was. I can’t say a show is a failure when the first third was good, but that’s the extent of the positives.
Let’s start with David Flair. If you look at this story as a whole, it makes very little sense. I understand the idea: David is young and was given the Blonde to convince him to turn on his father. Why such a young man would be stupid enough to accept help from someone that destroyed him is beyond me, but that’s a common hole in wrestling logic. You would think that Ric could find his son a dozen gorgeous women (which he just happened to do in a few months but we’ll get there later), but instead we get to humiliate Ric AGAIN because why would the fans need a hero to cheer for?
That should be the subtitle of this show: Who Needs Heroes? Other than Goldberg winning a pretty meaningless match, the biggest face to win here was Booker T., in another match that doesn’t mean much. This show was all about the NWO and making sure they looked as dominant as possible and taking out every bit of their competition in the process.
I rarely get angry doing these reviews, but this show was so bad that I was actually getting ticked off watching it fifteen years after it happened and knowing what was coming. That’s how stupid this show was and somehow, WCW is going to get WORSE. This show wasn’t just doing things wrong. This show was seeing what was the right move and running as far away from it as they could. It’s one of the most maddening shows I have ever seen and leaves me with almost nothing to look forward to.
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Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s very interesting to go back and watch the TV leading up to these shows before looking at them again. I think a lot of people incorrectly remember post Starrcade 1997 WCW as this huge disaster that made no sense and was a complete mess but these last few months have been very strong. The PPV has been well built and has the potential to be very entertaining. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is told like a legend, with the narrator talking about how an evil came over WCW but now the savior has come and is wearing white paint on his face.
The announcers talk about the show and how big Sting vs. Hogan is.
TV Title: Booker T vs. Rick Martel
Martel turned heel and won the title on Monday. The winner of this gets Saturn in another title match later tonight. Booker isn’t interested in a handshake but has to duck a Martel cheap shot. A clothesline sends Martel to the floor and another puts him down in the floor. Booker gets two off a back elbow as the Flock is here. Off to an armbar followed by a spinwheel kick and a knee drop for two. All Booker so far.
It’s back to the armbar followed by a superkick for a delayed two count for Booker. Now for the important part of the match: Booker hiptosses Martel out of the corner, sending Martel’s leg into the rope. Martel immediately backdrops Booker to the floor but can barely stand up. Rick knocks him off the apron to buy himself some more time before sending Booker back first into the apron.
Martel misses a charge Booker comes back with a side slam in the ring followed by a forearm to the face. Booker runs into a boot and Rick powerslams him down for two. We hit the chinlock followed by a spinebuster and the Quebec Crab. Martel’s knee seems to be ok now. A spinning cross body out of the corner gets two for Martel but he ducks his head and gets caught with the ax kick. Booker misses a cross body out of the corner but catches Martel coming off the top with the Harlem side kick for the pin and the title.
Rating: C+. This was the good match that you would expect from these two at this point. The match is enhanced by the knee injury that Martel suffered during the match. It was initially hurt during the hiptoss into the ropes but the ending made it even worse, to the point where Martel was scheduled to win the match but couldn’t continue. This was pretty much it for his in ring career as he would return for one match in July but injure himself all over again, ending his career for good.
Saturn immediately hits the ring and the second title match is on.
TV Title: Perry Saturn vs. Booker T
Saturn is involved in this because he beat Martel on Nitro before Martel won the title later in the night. He was the original challenger for the title from weeks earlier but Booker wanted his rematch tonight, giving us the three man solution. Saturn charges in and puts the Rings of Saturn on Booker before the bell rings. A small package gets two on Booker right after the bell and Saturn walks around a bit. Remember they didn’t plan this match out so we’re getting a very rare completely impromptu match.
Booker gets a quick sunset flip out of the corner for two but Saturn kicks him to the floor. Saturn drops him onto the barricade but Booker reverses a whip to send him into the steels instead. Booker can’t follow up and gets stomped in the corner, only to catch a counter a clothesline into a slam to put both guys down. We head back to the floor for a plancha from Saturn followed by a Vader Bomb from the apron to stay on Booker’s ribs.
Back in and Booker comes back with a flying forearm but he misses a running boot in the corner to change momentum again. Saturn hits a belly to back superplex but can’t follow up, allowing Booker to get up top for the missile dropkick. A spin kick puts Saturn down but he comes right back with a t-bone suplex. Saturn connects with a standing Lionsault to put both guys down yet again. It’s clear that they’re trying to fill in as much time as they can by having both guys lay around.
Booker slips while trying a top rope cross body and it’s off to a chinlock from the challenger. Tenay tells us that Martel has a torn MCL and may be out a long time as both guys hit cross bodies. Booker kicks him down again but misses the Harlem Hangover so Saturn can get two off a German suplex. Another suplex attempt is countered into the Harlem sidekick for the pin to retain the title.
Rating: C+. This was pretty solid stuff all things considered. Given how much time most guys get to work out a match in advance, it’s very impressive that the match was as good as it was. Booker comes out of this looking like a star and ready to step up to the next level while Saturn looked like a guy who got beaten by a Hail Mary instead of being soundly defeated.
La Parka vs. Disco Inferno
No transition between the matches at all which is so different than what you would see today. This is a good example of a match where it helps to see the build on TV as the announcers make it sound like they’re battling over who is a better dancer. La Parka throws the chair at him before the bell and takes Disco down with a powerslam. Disco hits a powerslam of his own and a clothesline in the corner for two. A spinwheel kick puts Disco on the floor for a corkscrew plancha as the announcers talk about the main event.
A clothesline on the floor puts Disco down but La Parka goes in to dance instead of following up. They head back inside where Disco avoids a top rope splash and takes it right back to the floor to whip La Parka into the barricade. Back in and some hard kicks get two for La Parka and we hit the chinlock. Disco finally fights up and avoids a charge in the corner for two but La Parka comes back with a kick to the face (which clearly missed by a few inches) to take over again.
Disco is catapulted to the floor and taken out by a suicide dive. La Parka charges into some boots in the corner before missing a charge into the post. Disco gets two each off a lariat and a swinging neckbreaker switching off to stomps in the corner. The referee takes a shot in the eye so La Parka hits Inferno low and brings in a chair. Disco is say in the chair in the middle of the ring but he gets up in time to send La Parka face first into the chair. Why that isn’t a DQ is beyond me but the Chartbuster ends La Parka a second later.
Rating: D+. This wasn’t bad but it was WAY too long at eleven and a half minutes. La Parka was a two idea character with the chair and the dancing but it was nice to see him get a chance to show what he could do in the ring. Disco’s improbable push continues but I don’t think he’s likely to get higher up on the card than this.
JJ brings out Nick Patrick and reinstates him. Patrick celebrates and brags but JJ says he won’t be refereeing the main event tonight.
Brad Armstrong vs. Goldberg
Goldberg easily takes him down with some submission holds followed by a gorilla press powerslam. Armstrong’s Russian legsweep is no sold and Goldberg throws him down with a pumphandle throw. The spear and Jackhammer end Armstrong quick.
Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho
This is Jericho’s title vs. Juvy’s mask. Jericho won’t take his belt off. Heenan: “It’s his binky.” He backs Juvy against the ropes with it on and the referee seems ok with it. Juvy slides between the ropes and hits a spin kick into the belt which hurts Jericho far worse. He finally takes the belt off and we’re ready to go. They hit the mat for a bit until Jericho takes over with a knee to the chest. Juvy is backdropped to the apron but comes back in with a springboard spinwheel kick.
A springboard hurricanrana takes Jericho out to the floor and the referee starts counting. Jericho gets caught raising his head up to make sure no one is looking before staying on the ground. Juvy sees through the goldbricking and splashes him from the ring. Back in and Juvy flips out of a German suplex but gets dropped chest first onto the buckle. Jericho throws him to the floor and tries to use the steps as a launchpad, only to be sent face first into the barricade.
Guerrera’s springboard is caught in a tombstone for two as Jericho is getting frustrated. The arrogant cover gets two and Jericho is getting frustrated. A delayed vertical suplex and a senton get two and Jericho hooks a backbreaker submission. Jericho gets two off a clothesline and the frustrations continue. Juvy’s top rope hurricanrana is countered into an electric chair but Jericho spends too much time posing and gets dropkicked to the floor. Air Juvy (love that move) takes Chris down again and the 450 hits back inside for the pin despite Jericho grabbing the ropes.
The referee waves it off and Jericho uses the opening to chop block Juvy’s leg. Guerrera grabs a DDT out of nowhere for two and a springboard hurricanrana gets the same. Jericho takes him down with a reverse suplex but can’t hit the Lionsault. The Liontamer is countered into a cradle for two but another hurricanrana attempt is countered into the Liontamer for the submission.
Rating: B-. This was another good win for Jericho but Juvy did a great job at flying all over the place and making the match exciting. Jericho was on a roll at this point and was such a horrible person that you can’t help but cheer against him. It’s a good match but we’re still waiting on the big showdowns with Malenko and Mysterio.
Jericho rips Juvy apart during the unmasking and tells him to put it back on. For the life of me I don’t get WCW’s thinking about this. Why would you want to give away such a lucrative merchandise opportunity like the mask? Jericho takes the mask for his trophy case in a gimmick someone should bring back.
Steve McMichael vs. British Bulldog
It’s a power brawl to start until Mongo hits a quick tilt-a-whirl slam of all things. A legdrop misses and Bulldog goes starts in on the leg. He hooks a not terrible Sharpshooter but McMichael makes the rope. Mongo comes back with his assortment of stomps before heading to the floor for more lame offense. Just to complete the horribleness, Mongo misses a forearm to the post and legitimately breaks his arm. Bulldog works on the arm and after a failed tombstone attempt from Mongo, an armbar is good for the submission.
Rating: F. Mongo was just horrible. When the best part of a match is the thud of an arm hitting a post, you know you’ve got a problem. Bulldog’s heart clearly wasn’t in this run but it was a paycheck so you can’t blame him for taking the job. Thankfully Mongo wouldn’t be around much more after this.
Mongo says he didn’t quit and shoves the referee.
US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit
Benoit is challenging in a rematch here after the Flock cost him his first title shot. Page starts with his driving shoulders but Benoit cartwheels out of the wristlock. A quick armdrag takes Page down and the champion isn’t sure what to do. Page comes back with a gutbuster but Benoit drapes him bad ribs first over the ropes. A quick Crossface attempt doesn’t work (nor is it acknowledged by the announcers) and they try a test of strength. Benoit is taken down but counters into a quick pinfall reversal sequence for a few near falls.
The Diamond Cutter attempt is escaped and Benoit takes a breather on the floor. Back in and it’s time to fight with Benoit hitting a hard right hand to the face. Another pinfall reversal sequence ends with a wheelbarrow suplex from Page for two but Benoit comes back with a dropkick to the knee. We hit the chinlock but Page fights up with a jawbreaker, only for Benoit to kick him in the bad ribs to take over again.
A snap suplex gets two and it’s back to a chinlock with an arm trap. Benoit switches to a sleeper but Page backdrops him to the apron and crotches him on the top to escape. Page superplexes him down but neither guy can follow up. A discus lariat gets two for the champion and a top rope clothesline gets the same. Benoit hooks a quick Crossface but Page is in the rope. Page counters a German suplex into a belly to belly for two but Benoit is like boy I do the suplexes around here and rolls some Germans for a near fall. A jumping DDT gets two on Chris but a backslide is countered into the Diamond Cutter to retain the title.
Rating: B+. Great match here and one of Page’s best ever. This is a rare occasion where both guys came out looking great because Benoit got caught, not defeated. Both guys were working hard out there and it became a chess match of who could get their big move first. Very good match here and both guys looked great.
Video on the Giant and his injury at Nash’s hands.
Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger
This is No DQ and a rematch from last month when Luger won. Luger comes out (to the opening notes of the Steiners’ music) with heavily taped ribs and no wrist tape. Savage tries to get in his cheap shot but Luger is ready for him. He can’t press slam him though because of the bad ribs. The fans think Luger sucks and let him know very loudly. Savage backdrops him to the floor and kicks at the ribs a few times. Back in an ax handle to the ribs gets two and Savage throws him back to the floor. This is really dull stuff.
Savage drops a cameraman on the floor as we head into the crowd for a chair shot tot he back. They get back to ringside with Savage sending Luger into various hard objects. They get back in and Luger no sells a suplex to start his comeback. He loads up the Rack but Liz makes the save, only to have the NWO goons make the save. The bell rings like it’s a DQ but Hogan calls off the dogs. Luger puts Savage in a quick Rack for a submission, even though the bell was ringing before Luger even touched him. Hogan says he doesn’t care that Savage lost.
Rating: F. There’s no other way to describe this other than a failure. It was seven and a half minutes of very dull “action” followed by a completely botched ending. The comeback was idiotic as Luger just got up and was fine. There was no big kickout or anything to scare the crowd like in a normal comeback. Luger just popped up and went on offense before the ending. Horrible match.
Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. Steiner Brothers
The Brothers are defending in match #847 of this feud. The NWO easily wins the survey tonight. Hall starts against Rick with the latter firing off Steiner Lines and right hands. An overhead belly to belly puts him down and Nash is knocked to the floor as well. Scott Steiner comes in for the signature pose….and turns on his brother, FINALLY joining the NWO. Dusty sends DiBiase into the post but Hall only gets two on Rick. Rick fights out of the Outsiders’ corner and doesn’t seem to know what his brother did. The Outsider’s Edge his a few seconds later to change the titles.
Rating: N/A. This was an angle instead of a match. It had been a full six days since someone joined the NWO so you can’t blame them for needing a turn here. This had been building for a long time but it still felt shocking, especially given how early in the match it was. It was probably for the best too as the Steiners were long past their expiration date as a team.
WCW World Title: Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan
No build to this or anything as Buffer starts his intro when the replay ends. This is Hogan vs. Sting III with both guys having won a match. The title is vacant due to the screwy nature of those matches so this is the big blowoff to the feud. Sting charges to the ring and is immediately knocked down by Hogan’s weightlifting belt. Hollywood punches him down and chokes a lot before Sting is tied up in his own coat. All Hogan for the first two minutes and we head to the floor.
Hogan pounds him against the barricade and they head into the aisle for more chops from Hollywood. Sting is sent into the post and barricade before we head back inside for a knuckle lock from Hogan. We’re over four minutes into this and Sting has had absolutely no offense. Sting powers up but Hogan kicks him in the gut to put him back down. I’m still not counting that as offense. Hogan gets two off a corner clothesline and drops some elbows but Sting pops up and fires off right hands. That’s his first offense and it comes after six minutes of Hogan dominance.
Sting fires off right hands in the corner and whips Hogan with the weightlifting belt. Hogan tries to leave but Sting sends him into the crowd for a few moments. Back at ringside and Sting misses the Splash against the barricade to stop his momentum cold. Hogan gets in a chair shot to the chest and heads back in to punch Sting even more. The shots are no sold though and Sting hits a quick Stinger Splash but Hogan is too close to the ropes for the Deathlock.
Sting tries another Stinger Splash but hits the referee in the process. For some reason this knocks Sting out too so Hogan drops the leg. Nick Patrick comes in to count a regular two count and Hogan is livid. Patrick pulls Hogan off Sting when he punches too much and the announcers immediately sing Patrick’s praises. A belly to back suplex gets about five near falls for Hogan so he wins another test of strength to keep his ego alive and well. We head outside again and Sting sends Hogan face first into the barricade.
Back inside and Hogan hits Sting low to stop him AGAIN. Sting starts Hulking Up and hits two Stinger Splashes followed by the Death Drop, but Hogan kicks Patrick on the way down. END THIS THING ALREADY! NWO goons come in but Savage slides in and hits Hogan with a can of spraypaint, giving Sting the pin and the title. You know because we can’t have the new world champion get the pin off his finisher or something stupid like that.
Rating: D-. The only reason it doesn’t fail is because it’s just slightly better than the Starrcade disaster. Hogan dominated the match and was on offense for about fourteen minutes out of sixteen and a half. Sting looks like a joke and the focus is on Savage vs. Hogan instead of the new champion, which would haunt the company for months to come. Absolutely horrible match here but somehow it was better than the previous two.
Sting spraypaints Hogan and the belt, two months and far too much wackiness after he should have.
Overall Rating: C+. This is a hard one to grade as the main events all suck but the rest of the card is pretty awesome stuff. You can really see the difference between the two parts of the card and the hope that so many fans had for this company is easy to understand. Sting FINALLY winning the title is a good thing but it’s two months too late at this point. The first two hours of this show are worth seeing but be ready to watch something else once Savage vs. Luger starts.
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(2013 Scott sez: It occurs to me that I never actually posted this followup to the original drunk version.)The Netcop Retro Rant for Superbrawl VIII Quick background: I originally did a rant of this show from the live PPV broadcast, and I was both somewhat drunk and very annoyed at the time, so I gave it a bad rating. To make matters worse, the review was HORRIBLE, done in an experimental format that proved to be one of the worst reviews I’ve ever done. (Re-reading it now, it’s not so bad. I count my revamped RAW reviews in 2005 as worse than that.) So I felt I always owed this show a second look, and here it is… – Live from San Francisco, CA. Original airdate, Feb. 22 / 1998. – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Iron Mike. – Opening match, TV title: Rick Martel v. Booker T. Newsflash: I just heard that Jim Duggan fished the TV title out of the garbage on the WCWSN tapings, so there’s another title going from dead to worse. (Yes, this was a thing that REALLY HAPPENED. There’s a top 5 list for someone to follow up with on Wrestlecrap – Top 5 Worst Ways A Title Was Awarded. HHH still wins.) Meanwhile, two years ago, it actually meant something. Martel won the thing from Booker on Nitro shortly before this, and Booker was feuding with Saturn at the time, so it ended with this as a rematch for the title first, and the winner gets Saturn immediately after in another title match. (Today they’d just have Teddy Long make a three-way after all three guys lost to the other secondary champion in Beat the Clock qualifiers.) Booker goes after Martel quickly, clotheslining him to the floor. Raven and the Flock join us at ringside and do nothing of note all night. Booker works the arm. Leg lariat and kneedrop gets two for him. Martel actually draws heat, getting a “Martel sucks” chant, as Booker blocks a rollup and superkicks him for two. Back to the arm. Blind charge misses and Martel backdrops him to the floor. Booker gets up but ends up bumping onto the railing. Back in, and Booker hits a quick slam and breakdances up. Martel gets a powerslam on him for two to break up that comeback. Spinebuster sets up the Quebec Crab, which Booker escapes easily. Martel hits a crossbody, which Booker rolls through for two. Rollup for two from Booker. Martel hits a quick lariat for two. Booker comes back with a flying forearm and ax kick, the usual sign that the end is near. Spinebuster sets up a flying bodypress, which misses. Martel goes to the second rope, but gets caught with a leg lariat on the way down and Booker gets the pin and the title at 10:31, his second. ***1/4. Sadly, Martel landed REALLY badly coming off the ropes and ripped his knee apart, and had to retire as a result, right in the peak of his comeback. Saturn leaps out of the crowd and attacks, and we’ve got… – TV title match #2: Booker T v. Saturn. Saturn applies the Rings of Saturn right off the bat. Booker escapes and gets a sunset flip for two. Booker rolls out and gets whipped to the railing. He returns the favor right away. Back in and Booker blocks a clothesline and powerslams Saturn. He gets tossed out again, and Saturn follows with a pescado and a pump splash from the apron to the floor. Back in, Booker recovers enough for a flying forearm. Blind charge misses – nice looking bump off that one. It gets two for Saturn. Super backdrop suplex follows, and Saturn follows up with a regular superplex, but Booker blocks it and comes crashing down with a wicked stiff missile dropkick. He hits a leg lariat, but Saturn nails an exploider suplex for two. (That was during the brief period when I cared about trendy move naming vis-a-vis ECW enough to use “exploider” instead of just calling it a “suplex” or just the Americanized “exploder”.) Belly to belly gets two. He hits a Lionsault, but it leaves both guys down and out. Saturn goes for choking on the ropes. Booker tries a flying cross body, but misses. It gets a two count for Saturn. Back up, both collide for a double knockout. Saturn misses a blind charge of his own, and gets spinebusted. Ax kick flattens him, but the Harlem Hangover misses. Saturn hits a Northern Lights suplex for two. German suplex gets two, but Booker comes back with one last burst and hits a quick sidekick for the pin to retain at 14:20. Tough match. ***1/2 – La Parka v. Disco Inferno. No real angle here. Parka gets a quick chairshot and a powerslam to start. And now we dance. Disco comes back with two running corner clotheslines for two. Parka hits a leg lariat to knock Disco out and follows with a corkscrew plancha. Brawling sees Parka whip him into the rail and clothesline him. Back in, Parka gets a two count. Flying splash misses and they brawl outside again. Disco gets the better of it this time. Back in, Parka gets a head kick for two. Majastral cradle gets two. Resting abounds. Blind charges misses, cue the Disco comeback (on second thought, let’s not…). (Too bad, he did in fact make a comeback with TNA a few years after this was written.) Disco puts his head down and gets kicked in the face, however. Parka uses a headscissor to take Disco to the floor and hits a tope suicida. Back in, he hits the ringpost and Disco comes back again. He shoves the ref, allowing Parka to find his chair and sit Disco in it. They end up fighting on the top rope, where Disco tosses La Parka off, headfirst into the chair, followed by the Stone Cold Apocalyptic Chartbusting Last Stunner Dance for the pin at 11:39. Dull but solid. *** (That’s a hell of a rating upgrade.) – Brad Armstrong v. Goldberg. Before he was Buzzkill, he was just roadkill. (RIP) Spear, jackhammer, and we be outta here at 2:23. ½* – Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera. FINALLY, THE JUICE HAS…oh, wait, wrong gimmick. Jericho refuses to take the belt off, so they start the match with him wearing it. (There’s a Ziggler gimmick waiting to happen.) Juvy kicks him in the belt, and he removes it. Jericho dominates, but gets caught with a springboard leg lariat. Juvy follows with a rana off the apron to the floor. Jericho acts dead and tries to take the countout, which is a REALLY funny spot that he never does anymore. (Really, why wouldn’t more champions try that tactic? Not outright walking out on the match like the lame-o writers come up with twice an episode sometimes, but actually putting the onus on the challenger of winning the belt? Leave the ring, force the other guy to chase you and MAKE you get back into the ring. That’s heel psychology!) Juvy tosses him back in and chops away. He flips out of a german suplex and gets dropped on the top rope. They hit the floor and Jericho tries to springboard off the steps, but ends up running into the railing instead. Back, and Jericho gets a piledriver fro two. Arrogant cover gets two. Juvy hits a victory roll for two. Delayed suplex and senton gets two. They fight on top and Juvy comes off with a rana but Jericho counters with the electric chair. Juvy dropkicks Jericho to the floor and follows with a springboard elbow. Back in, Juvy hits a tombstone and 450 for the pin…but Jericho was in the ropes, so we continue. Jericho clips him, but Juvy rolls him up for two. Jericho gets a lariat for two. Powerbomb is reversed by Juvy to a DDT for two. He goes for a top rope rana, but Jericho blocks. Juvy sets up again and this time hits a springboard variation and gets two. Jericho gets an inverted suplex, but the Lionsault misses. Liontamer is attempted, but reversed to a rollup for two. Juvy tries to finish with another rana, but this time Jericho blocks and applies the Liontamer for the submission at 13:27. Whew, great finish. ***3/4 Juvy unmasks after some taunting by Jericho, and the Juice we all know and love is revealed at last. Jericho, of course, steals the mask for his trophy case. (The only case where WCW unmasking someone helped him out. Before there was no connection with the fans or empathy, and once he was unmasked we got all the great babyface expressions and emotions from Juvy during the matches. Unlike, say, Psicosis, where the initial “Put the mask back on him!” joke reaction from Heenan was probably the correct one.) – The British Bulldog v. Steve MacMichael. This is a feud that started with one of the all-time great bad lines, supplied by Mongo on an episode of Nitro: “Don’t stand there drinking coffee when a man’s talking to you!” Mongo gets the quick advantage. Bulldog goes for the Sharpshooter (doing very badly at it), but Mongo continues his, ahem, blistering offensive onslaught. Some of the punches even make contact. Almost. Brawl on the floor, where Mongo punches the ringpost. The ringpost actually does a better sell job than Mongo is usually capable of. Bulldog works on the wrist, in order to prevent the three-point stance. Well, I guess it’s a *kind* of psychology. And sure enough, Mongo goes for the three-point stance, but his wrist is too sore to stay in the down position. Why he couldn’t just lean on the OTHER wrist I’ll never know. (Because SCIENCE!) Anyway, the wrist is now crippled or something, and Bulldog applies a wristlock (which Mongo mistakes for a wristwatch) and gets the submission at 6:10. But see, Mongo protests that he never tapped out, thus protecting his spot or something. Yup. DUD – US title match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Chris Benoit. This was just before DDP’s big feud with Raven, and his sudden revelation that adding the word “scum” to anyone’s name could make him sound cool. (Much like Steve Corino, I guess.) This mini-feud with Page was actually a neat bit of politicking on his part, as he saw the incredibly heated Raven-Benoit feud and decided he wanted a piece. So he had Benoit moved into a “respect” feud with himself (which had the advantage of giving the illusion that he was a great wrestler) and then phased Raven into the feud as a result of that previous Raven-Benoit rivalry. Once Raven was in, he then segued the feud into DDP-Raven, and sent Benoit crashing back down to the undercard again. Isn’t backstage politics fun? Have I mentioned recently that Benoit beat the Rock on RAW last week? Who’s Page beaten recently? (Well, in the grand scheme of things, DDP is a hell of a guy who will always have my admiration now for what he’s done to help people, so 1999 Scott should probably shut up with that comparison now.) Anyway, Page works the arm to start here. He whips Benoit into the corner and gets a rotation gutbuster. Benoit suplexes him onto the top rope in retaliation. Quick crossface attempt, but Page makes the ropes. Pinfall reversal sequence, then DDP gets a backdrop suplex. Benoit dodges the Diamond Cutter by rolling out. He gets back in and they have a staredown, and it occurs to me that the natural progression would be for Benoit to slap the smirk off DDP’s face, and HE DOES! A really loud one, too, that gets the crowd ooo-ing and aaah-ing. They get into a slugfest, and Benoit hits a cheapshot. Rollup gets two. DDP counters that with an ocean cyclone suplex for two. Benoit dropkicks the knee and goes back on offense. He uses a cobra sleeper, but DDP escapes with a jawbreaker. Benoit hammers on him in the corner, to a big pop. DDP responds in kind. Benoit pulls out the snap suplex for two. I love it when he uses that. Back to the sleeper. DDP escapes, but Benoit tenaciously goes right back at it. DDP dumps him over the top in desperation. Benoit goes to the top, but gets crotched. DDP gets a superplex for a double knockout spot. Slugfest follows as they get up, and DDP mounts a comeback. Spinning lariat gets two. DDP goes upstairs and hits a flying clothesline for two. Suplex attempt is suddenly reversed to a crossface, and the crowd goes NUTS. DDP makes the ropes. Suplex attempt again, this time reversed to a cradle for two, and again reversed by DDP for two. Page gets a belly to belly for two, but Benoit comes back with the rolling suplexes for two. The crowd is DEEPLY into this. Double knockout, then DDP comes back with a jumping DDT for two. Diamond Cutter attempt, but Benoit blocks and goes for a backslide, which Page flips out of and hits the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere, and it’s academic from there. He retains at 15:43 in an awesome match for Page. ****1/4 Lodi offers sage advice via a sign: “Benoit, We Knew You’d Lose”. (Better advice: “Lay off the unprotected headshots and don’t fuck someone else’s wife.”) Work, shoot, it’s all the same thing. I panned this match in my original go-around because of my initial bitterness at Benoit’s loss, but time has mellowed me to it, because really it’s all worked out just fine for Chris, while all the jerks who held him back are busy sinking with the Titanic right now. Instant karma IS gonna get you. (It sure got Benoit.)– Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. This is no-DQ. I believe it’s also stipulated as being “no-workrate” and “no-heat”, but I could be wrong. Luger has heavily taped ribs. HUGE “Luger sucks” chant, so I guess San Fran is nWo country. (In all fairness, he did suck at this point.) This was during the initial stages of the drawn-out and boring angle that would eventually lead to the Wolfpac and thus destroy WCW completely. Although to be fair hindsight is 20/20 and all that. (Just look at the Page-Benoit review for proof.) Savage kicks him in the ribs all over the place a bunch. They fight outside, and back in, where Luger suddenly ignores the crippling injury, makes the comeback, and fights off nWo interference to get the rack for the submission at 7:20. Whatever. * The Savage-Hogan split is furthered here, leading to their epic battle (Age in the Cage III) at Uncensored the month after, which of course we will get too next month when I bite the bullet and slog through all of those wretched shows. – WCW World tag title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Outsiders. After 6 long months of incredibly screwy title changes, backstage politics, boneheaded substitutions to prevent certain people from jobbing, and match after incredibly bad match, this was finally the one that ended the feud. Scott Steiner’s long-awaited heel turn and singles push had been teased ENDLESSLY leading up to this, to the point where every match he was involved in from Halloween Havoc 97 onward was “the one where he’s gotta turn”. And FINALLY, here it is. Thankfully, they don’t draw it out any longer than needed – about a minute into the match, the Steiners clear the ring and do their standard “barking pose”, and Scott suddenly turns on Rick and destroys him. Rick’s heart is thus ripped out, and the Outsiders squash him and finish it with an Outsider’s Edge at 4:14 to regain the titles. Nash, of course, did nothing. ½* Scott made his re-debut on Nitro the next night as “White Thunder”, and took another year to get over. (Scott Steiner is another example of the philosophy of not giving up on something you want to get over. They did something like a dozen minor repackages and re-pushes of the guy before it finally took at the main event level, and they could have given up right after WHITE THUNDER and didn’t. Maybe they should have, but they DIDN’T.) – WCW World title match: Sting v. Hulk Hogan. This was as a result of the incredibly screwy finish of Starrcade 97. The title ended up being held up and put up for grabs here. Hogan chokes him out with the WEIGHTLIFTING BELT OF DOOM to start. Then he chokes him with Sting’s own coat. Alleged brawling outside follows. Helpful hint for Hogan: Most streetfighters don’t utilize back rakes as part of their offense. (Unless they’re a secret assassin like Remo Williams.) Back in, Hogan continues squashing Sting with the usual. Sting comes back and whips Hogan with his own belt. What irony. It’d be almost Shakespearean if the match didn’t suck so much. Hogan runs away, and we get more brawling outside. Back in, and Sting gets the stinger splash and scorpion deathlock, but Hogan makes the ropes. Ref gets bumped on a second splash. Hey, a ref bump, that’s just what this match needed. Hogan’s legdrop gets two as another ref comes in. Half-assed suplex gets two. After some resting, a rollup gets two. Back outside, more brawling. No way these guys need this much time for this match. Sting takes over, but good ol’ Ballshot #1 turns the tide. He manages two stinger splashes, but now we have yet another ref bump. An nWo run-in follows, but Sting fights them off and hits the deathdrop on Hogan. But because Hogan won’t job to Sting’s finisher, we have Savage do a BONUS run-in (2 for the price of 1!) and hit the already unconscious Hogan with…something…and that’s enough for Sting to get the pin and the title at 16:30. Waaaaaaay too much Hogan offense and general screwiness. ¼* Sting spraypaints “WCW” on Hogan as the announcers declare this the big triumph for WCW, blah blah blah. Hogan would have the title back around his waist a mere two months later, thus making the announcers look like idiots (In all fairness…), as per the status quo in WCW. The Bottom Line: The great thing about the 97-99 period for WCW was that the nWo/”main event” group and the mid-card were both segregated into their own little niches on the card, and thus the chances of having a talentless lunk stink up a perfectly good Benoit match were minimal, and thus you ended up with some damn good wrestling on WCW PPVs. (It’s true! Which is why it might actually be a good thing for the Main Event Superfriends to have their own mini-division these days.) And that, my friends, is why I continued watching through the wretched nWo years. Do like I do and ignore the crap that managed to float it’s way to the top of the booking toilet like so much diarrhea, and this is a great show with four matches breaking ***, an easy thumbs up no matter how you slice. Recommended show, but as always stop before the main event.
The Netcop Rant for WCW/nWo Superbrawl VIII (2013 Scott sez: I haven’t done a Scott Sez redo for a while, and I decided all by myself without suggestion from anyone to do Superbrawl VIII. This was the original version of the rant, written and posted basically while the show was airing, and I was pretty drunk at the time, but I thought it was interesting enough to keep in the archives, I guess. So we’ll do a compare and contrast.) Live from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, thus guaranteeing a built-in fanbase for Raven’s Flock. (Maybe Lodi should have been holding red equals signs.) We start with another lame black & white promo, which is ironic, considering… (I don’t really get what’s ironic about that.) Hosted by Eeny, Meeny and Miney. Mo is delayed at LAX due to weather problems. Okay, I was of two minds during a show more than a few times, so for a lot of the matches, I’m going to divide my review into Good (net)Cop and Bad (net)Cop. Try and follow my lead. Opening match: TV Title match #1: Booker T v. Rick Martel. Martel is once again in full heel mode and my interest in him is gone because of it. Booker is OVER. The Flock’s entrance at ringside is highlighted at one point during the match. They really get some time to stretch out here, moreso than on Thunder or Nitro, and they don’t really take advantage of it. It was just kinda slow, that’s all. Goes about 18 minutes before Martel comes off the second rope with whatever and Booker nails a Harlem sidekick in mid-air to block, which puts Martel’s lights out. And we have a two-time champion in Booker T! Yah! *** (Martel was actually on a pretty good run here in his comeback bid.) TV Title match #2: Booker T v. Saturn. Saturn charges in immediately after the previous match and they start it up right away as Saturn hammers on Booker. The announcers inform us that Martel tore some ligament, which will hopefully mean I won’t have to watch him wrestle for a while (I hate the heel Martel). (In fact Martel’s career was basically over following that injury.) Match is very lethargic as Booker seems winded and Saturn just sucks. Lots of time spent outside the ring, as Booker gets virtually no offense in. Tony blathers on about who the referee for the main event will be. (Yeah, their whole practice of hyping a main event for a show we already bought, or stole in our case, really was stupid.) Finally it gets good about 12 minutes in as both guys exchange some high-impact stuff. Booker goes for the Hangover and misses, but Saturn can’t capitalize as Booker hits the Harlem Sidekick and gets the pin to retain the title. *1/2 (Yeah, I know I underrated this one, as the redo will show.) Good Cop sez: I liked the booking, which put Booker over as a bigger badass than ever and really established him as a top face, and hopefully put an end to this triangle feud. Time to move onto Eddy. The matches were pretty disappointing, however. Bad Cop sez: Who cares about the match quality? BOOKER T RULZ! Consensus: Good opening. La Parka v. Disco Inferno. Fans are pretty into La Parka now. (Not that they did anything with him.) He whips the chair at Disco before the bell, nearly getting him right in the head. Total “charisma over talent” match as both guys dance, stall, play to the crowd, and basically do everything *but* wrestle. And as a result, the crowd is pretty dead. And of course NOW Tony talks about the match. Sheesh. Finally, La Parka brings in the chair, but Disco…very….slowly….stops him from coming off the top rope and using the chair, slamming him off the top onto the chair, then hitting the Stone Cold Chartbuster for the pin. * Good Cop sez: Really poor match for both guys, and putting Disco over made no sense on several levels, unless they’re priming him for another run at the TV title. This sucked. Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING. And La Parka didn’t even get to hit him with the chair afterwards. This sucked. Consensus: This sucked. (I bet the redone version has a higher rating.) JJ Dillon reinstates Nick Patrick with no conditions, but tells him that he will, under no circumstances, be involved in the main event. This, of course, tells us that he’ll be involved in the main event. Patrick actually kisses Mean Gene in his happiness. That’s a bit too much information… Brad Armstrong v. Bill Goldberg. We take a pool to bet on how fast Goldberg will destroy Brad Armstrong. Estimates range from 46 seconds (me) up to 3:16 (CanSen). Time of the match: 2:25, which means that Zenon wins. Oh, yeah, the match: Goldberg does some sloppy, dangerous moves which I’m sure RSPW will cream over, spear, jackhammer, yada yada yada. (Goldberg used to be a smark darling for some reason.) Good Cop sez: I’m sick of Goldberg and I don’t need to see him squash Brad Armstrong on a major PPV. (Get ready for MORE Goldberg!) Bad Cop sez: GOLDBERG SUCKS! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. (I kind of think the lack of Nitro in Canada meant that us Canadianites didn’t have the same love for Goldberg that the US did. Really, Canada was hardcore WWF territory, which was demonstrated by that Nitro in Toronto where Goldberg was booed like crazy.) Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera. Jericho leaves the belt on until Juvy kicks him there. Tony, at one point, calls a Juvy move a “flying body attack,” which may be *the* most generic move description in the history of wrestling. (I’ve been mocking that one ever since.) If you don’t know, just let Tenay call it, dude. Some other stuff happens, and then Juvy hits the 450, but Jericho has, like, 3 of his appendages in the ropes, although the announcers nevertheless act like it was a close call. Then it’s a super hot ending, as a flurry of offense from both guys nearly gives each the win before Jericho blocks a rana into the Liontamer for the tap-out. D’oh! **1/2 Jericho makes fun of Juvy as he removes his mask, which ruins the whole Juvy mystique for me. Sigh. (Juvy ruined his own mystique just fine later on. Hindsight says that unmasking him was actually the right move, because he went from generic luchador to literally a babyface star.) Good Cop sez: I think Jericho is on the bottom rung of the whole Cruiserweight talent ladder, but he continues to get a bigger push based on his whining in the ring and in real life. I didn’t like this match, and their styles aren’t really compatible. It just never clicked for me. (What the hell was my problem with Jericho? I certainly changed that tune later on.) Bad Cop sez: Cruiserweights suck. But unmaskings are cool. Consensus: Disappointing. Steve McMichael v. The British Bulldog. This was *so* bad. Not as bad as the main event, but still pretty wretched. After hearing me complain about lack of ring psychology, Mongo proceeds to sell a wrist injury to the point of stupidity (I mean, not being able to do a three-point stance because of the wrist injury?) before Bulldog puts him in an armbar for the submission, although the announcers act like he never gave up. -* Good Cop sez: It makes me sick to my stomach to watch Davey Boy Smith deteriorate before my eyes like this. (Yeah, it would get worse once he went back to the WWF.) And Mongo hasn’t had a good match since WarGames. (He pretty much disappeared soon after this, in fact. Like, literally just walked out of the promotion and they had no idea where he went.) Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. (Or Thunder.) [Note: The crowd is just dead silent by this point.] US Title match: Diamond Dallas Page v. Chris Benoit. And they blow it again. Terrible match for Benoit. Restholds galore, and the only markout moment of the match was the triple german suplex which Benoit seems to be adding to his usual repertoire now. (Yup, it became a signature move, of course.) WHOMP ASS~! But it’s for naught, as DDP reverses a Benoit move into the Diamond Cutter for the pin. FUCK! ** (Oh, now you’re just letting emotions and alcohol influence your rating, 1998 Scott. I bet it’s like **** on the redo.) Good Cop sez: Benoit jobs again. And the match did nothing to advance the Raven storyline or give Benoit more credibility as a title contender. DDP just can’t keep up, it’s that simple. Bad Cop sez: BOR-RING! Consensus: Disappointing, but at least it was clean. Tony says by the way, Giant won’t be here tonight after all, but tune into Nitro because he’ll be there. Hey, more WCW bullshit. Whoo-hoo! No-DQ: Randy Savage v. Lex Luger. Oh, like you need me to tell you a) How bad it was; b) Who won or c) Who ran in, but I will anyway. a) It was pretty horrible. b) Luger wins with the Rack. c) The nWo runs in and beats up Savage so Luger can win. –** (That sounds harsh.) Good Cop sez: Why did Luger win? Savage is the one getting the push. (BECAUSE SCIENCE!) Bad Cop sez: Bounce, Liz, bounce! Consensus: Save this crap for Nitro. [Note: The crowd is almost comatose right now.] “Unified” tag team title match: The Steiner Brothers v. The Outsiders. Yeah, unified, sure, whatever. (It was supposed to be “unifying” the WCW and NWO tag titles, see.) Thankfully Scott punks his brother a mere two minutes in, thus saving me having to watch these four stink up the ring again. (That was a weird turn. Also set up one of the most dramatic makeovers in wrestling history.) Dibiase gets creamed by Dusty and the nWo do everything but play catch with the carcass of Rick Steiner before pinning him to regain the titles yet again. It did, however, completely reawaken the crowd. DUD Good Cop sez: Finally Scott turns. Thank god. Match was incredibly bad, of course. (Yeah, they had been teasing that turn out FOREVER.) Bad Cop sez: Hey, I liked it. I thought it was cool to turn him right at the beginning of the match, and I liked watching Rick get killed. Concensus: None, really. Bad match with a fun angle that was three months too late. Uncensored promo which directly rips off the Game Boy commercials. Main Event: “Unified” World title: Hulk Hogan v. Sting. And what the FUCK does it unify, huh? And what the hell happened to Sting? (18 months in the rafters and no steroids happened to him, DUH.) This is a HORRIBLE match, featuring not one, but TWO ref bumps, and Sting has been reduced to Lex Luger’s level: Take an ass-kicking, then come back with a repeated move (the Stinger splash) and a lame finisher (Deathdrop) to get the win. Which is what happens, as the entire nWo runs in, but Sting fights them off as Randy Savage bops Hogan with something and allows Sting to get the pin. Nick Patrick makes the count, of course. -** Sting claims the belt, then spraypaints “WCW” on the fallen Hogan, end of show. (Yeah, that should have been how Starrcade went.) Good Cop sez: I never, ever want to watch Sting wrestle again if this is his ceiling. (He’d get a little better, but yeah, that 18 months off was basically the end of top-level worker Sting.) DDP was able to carry Hogan to a better match than his kick-and-punch festival. Dallas fucking Page! And why couldn’t they do this ending at Starrcade, when it would have been appropriate and meant something? Bad Cop sez: YEAH! STING KICKS ASS! nWo SUX! STING FINALLY WINS! Concensus: Wretched match with an ending they should have done three months ago. The Bottom Line: Wrestling wise, this was easily the worst PPV I’ve seen in quite some time. There was no match I’d even classify as “good” after the opener, and even the Martel-Booker T match was on the fringes of being “good” and was flirting with “okay”. The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that saved this show was some really good angles that were long overdue. If Hogan had gone over in the title match, it would have been a cinch as “Worst Show of the Year”. On the other hand, I kind of liked the show on a markish level, as Sting finally got his revenge and Scott turned in a cool way and Juvy unmasked. So it wasn’t all bad. Just most of it. Later. (Way too harsh, 1998 lush Scott.)
Commentators: Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I had a request to do Uncensored 97 and since I have every show from Beach Blast 93 through Souled Out 97 and there’s one show in between Souled Out and Uncensored, I figured I’d do that one show (Superbrawl) and then Uncensored. Wow that was a long sentence. Anyway the main event here is Hogan vs. Piper for the title because for absolutely no apparent reason, Starrcade was non-title. Let’s get to it.
We open in Alcatraz. As in inside the closed prison with Piper in a cell. Apparently he’s escaping to go to the arena to face Hogan. How much do you think this cost them to make? He had these videos playing for a long time so his shirt is in tatters and all that jazz. He gets on a sail boat and shouts at the city. That’s WCW for you.
We recap Malenko vs. Syxx. The idea is that Syxx has been stealing belts that don’t belong to him such as Eddie’s US Title and Dean’s Cruiserweight Title.
Cruiserweight Title: Syxx vs. Dean Malenko
Syxx has the belt itself but Dean is champion. There’s a huge space between the entrance and the aisle. Dean is all ticked off to start and hits a leg lariat for two but pulls Syxx up. Brainbuster gets two. Powerslam gets the same as this has been one sided for the first few minutes. Syxx gets caught in the Tree of Woe as this aggressive Dean is kind of cool. Doesn’t suit him at all but it’s kind of cool.
Cloverleaf doesn’t work so a cross body sends both guys to the floor. Back in the ring and Syxx finally gets a kick to the face to take Dean down. Syxx hits that three kick combination of his in the corner to set up a Bronco Buster. We hear about Barry Bonds coming to San Francisco which doesn’t mean much but the match is going kind of slowly and I need something to talk about.
Sleeper goes on for a bit as Malenko counters with a belly to back for two. Dean’s neck is messed up so Bobby suggests neckbreakers or piledrivers. Syxx goes with a brainbuster instead and follows with a guillotine legdrop for two. Love that move. Back to the sleeper as we talk about Hogan and Piper now and how everyone is concerned about Piper. Dean throws on a sleeper for irony I guess but they ram into each other and down they go.
The announcers debate trains for awhile and how they crash which is annoying as my grandmother is currently heading to Washington via train. Syxx gets crotched on the top but reverses a belly to back off the top into a cross body to put Dean down. Syxx goes for the belt and Eddie IMMEDIATELY sprints out to stop him. Tug of war winds up sending the belt into Dean’s head for the pin and the NWO’s third title.
Rating: C. Pretty good match here which set up Eddie vs. Dean later I think. This was fine with the Cruiserweight formula of mat based guy (well kind of) being a heel vs. the fast paced guy (again kind of) being the face. Nothing very good here and not the best choice for an opener but I’ve seen far worse before.
DDP has a match with someone in the NWO tonight but doesn’t know against who so he runs down the list of the possible opponents. Gene thinks Buff Bagwell and what do you know he gets word that it’s him.
Konnan/La Parka/Villano IV vs. Ciclope/Super Calo/Juventud Guerrera
Not sure if this is trios rules or just a regular match. Calo’s team is the face team. Villano vs. Ciclope to start us off as we talk about Ray Stevens who passed away about 10 months earlier. Villano apparently means villain which is named after a character that all the Villanos’ father played in an El Santo movie back in the 50s. These guys are a bit bigger than most luchadores but it doesn’t matter as we’re off to Konnan and Juvy.
Rolling clothesline puts Guerrera down but a springboard dropkick changes momentum. And never mind as Konnan remembers he’s the real star here and beats up everyone to bring in Parka to face Calo. It’s moving too fast here to really keep track of it. Calo sends him to the floor and hits a slingshot Swanton. Parka puts him in a chair as selling is completely forgotten here and crashes into him.
Villano vs. Ciclope again as we’ve started all over apparently. Ciclope TOTALLY botches a moonsault to the floor as he veers to the left and lands hard. Off to Parka vs. Juvy with Parka hitting what we would call a Whisper in the Wind. Slingshot rana by Juvy gets two. Villano and Konnan get what was supposed to be a Doomsday Device on Juvy and follow it with a double leglock.
Everyone goes in and it was a six man submission hold/pin attempt at the same time. Everything breaks down and they all get tossed around with Konnan and Villano left standing. They do a four person leg hold called the Star and Parka puts Juvy in a surfboard in the middle. Triple suicide dive by the faces with Juvy completely missing Konnan but he tried. Back in the ring Konnan gets two on a Power Drop (Razor’s Edge into a sitout powerbomb) but they call it three despite Juvy’s arm being up maybe a second early.
Rating: C. Well that was something. I have no idea what it was but it was something. This was just another random Mexican Cruiserweight match which wasn’t very good but they were trying to pop the fans a bit. Not enough dives to make the fans care but it definitely got your attention. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not though.
TV Title: Rey Mysterio vs. Prince Iaukea
WCW put their midcard title on a Samoan by beating a blueblood just after Rocky Maivia did in the WWF. No reason given why Iaukea, who meant nothing, popped up to become a champion but I’m sure it wasn’t copying WWF. Not at all. Rey is still young and awesome here with both knees intact. Technical stuff to start with no one being able to get an extended advantage.
The Prince misses a springboard shot but gets a kick to the face for two. Off to the floor as Dusty talks about becoming a king. Bobby wants to know what he’s a prince of, suggesting Omaha. Big dive by Iaukea takes Rey down on the floor and he takes over. The fans get distracted by something in the audience as he hits a suplex on Rey and we hit the chinlock.
Iaukea is more or less the default heel because only an idiot (or Russo) would try to make Rey a heel. Prince tries to come off the top but gets caught by a dropkick and a rana takes Iaukea to the floor. In a SICK bump, Rey lays him on the floor and gets a running dive through the ropes with a front flip to land on Iaukea (not a Swanton but more of a back splash).
Back in the ring and a spinwheel kick and falling moonsault (he stood on the top and dropped down onto the rope for the moonsault) get two for Rey. The Prince comes back with what would become known as an Angle Slam off the top as Regal, the former champion, comes down. They botch a top rope rana so they try a modified version of it. Regal pulls Rey down and his face goes into the apron, allowing Prince to pin him. He didn’t see Regal drop him on the apron.
Rating: C. Not bad here and the reason for Regal is Rey distracted Regal on Nitro to cost Regal the title. Not much of a match as the third straight cruiserweight style match got a bit tiring. Iaukea went nowhere after losing the title while Rey would go on to become Rey Mysterio. Always cool to see two different paths like this here.
Iaukea tries to give Rey the belt when he figures out Regal cheated but Rey doesn’t want it. So no one wants to be champion? I’ve heard of worse ways to kill a belt.
The Giant talks about how the Outsiders like to play mind games but tonight it’s his game at his speed. He has a handicap match later since Luger is hurt.
Buff Bagwell vs. Diamond Dallas Page
DDP is in the middle of the push of a lifetime by being the first guy to turn down the NWO so this could have been a stuffed panda in an NWO shirt and DDP would have fit in perfectly. Page isn’t quite the People’s Champion yet as he still has the cigar but it’s shaping up quickly. Very slow start as Page his some basic stuff, including a neckbreaker that Bagwell would use as a regular move in a few years.
Out to the floor as Bagwell gets a shot in and Dusty talks about various rambling things. Bagwell hasn’t been heel that long at this point so he doesn’t have his stuff down yet. Small package gets two for Page but he walks into a clothesline to take him down. The referee gets in Bagwell’s face in a funny bit. Discus clothesline and both guys are down. Heenan sounds drunk again.
Here comes the comeback as Bagwell is just a step above a jobber so it’s not much of a comeback. Helicopter bomb gets two even though it would be a propeller that didn’t spin that much. Diamond Cutter doesn’t work as Bagwell hits his Fisherman’s suplex finisher but wants the referee to count Page out for ten instead of covering him.
When that of course fails he tries a neckbreaker which is reversed into a Diamond Cutter to bring the crowd straight to its feet. And here’s the NWO G-Team of Mr. Wallstreet, Nick Patrick and Syxx for the save. Page actually runs from them because nothing spells fear like IRS and a referee. Page wins by DQ because we can’t have Buff Bagwell get pinned to hurt his credibility right?
Rating: D+. Just a match really with nothing of note going on. DDP could have realistically challenged any NWO person at this point so Bagwell was just the opponent of the night for him. The ending is pretty freaking stupid as the fans wanted to see Page win with the Diamond Cutter and it’s not like this was against Hogan. It’s against a lackey and a new one at that. What’s the point?
US Title: Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
Gee think this will be good? The graphic says TV Title because WCW is stupid. Eddie is champion here and Jericho is still relatively unknown here having debuted in August but only doing random cruiserweight stuff. Let’s give him a shot at the second biggest title in the company on PPV! Tony says the wrong year for the first Superbrawl (it was 91).
Technical stuff to start and Eddie works on the legs a bit. Dusty rambles a lot and after we talk about the new generation we better talk about Hogan and Piper again. Crowd is DEAD because this is just a random title match with no particular rhyme or reason. Test of strength doesn’t prove anything and more technical stuff follows. Very back and forth match with no one getting an advantage.
Spinebuster sets up the Liontamer which doesn’t have a name yet and the announcers criticize it because they don’t get it yet. Off to a chinlock as Jericho has been winning for the majority of the match. Eddie is a bit off because he cost Dean the title earlier. Jericho gets a backbreaker on him which is more or less a torture rack. He drops down into another backbreaker for two.
They speed things up a bit and Jericho misses a cross body out of the corner and Eddie gets a powerbomb for two. Brainbuster looks to set up the frog splash but he rolls through it and Jericho gets a NICE release German to put both guys down. Things slow down a bit now and Eddie reverses a bunch of stuff before an overhead belly to belly gets two for Jericho. Eddie gets crotched on the top and a springboard dropkick puts him on the floor so Jericho can hit a pescado.
Back in Eddie catches him in an atomic drop as Chris comes off the top. They both try kicks (drop for Eddie, spinwheel for Jericho) and Jericho might have hurt his knee. They collide again and we’re both down again. Powerslam gets two for Jericho. Suplex reversal gets two for Eddie but he walks into a superkick and La Magistrol for two. Jericho counters a tornado DDT into a northern lights suplex for two. We get a reversal sequence and Eddie comes out with a sunset flip for the surprise pin.
Rating: B. Very good match here which is exactly what you would expect. Both guys worked very hard out there and I’d be shocked if this isn’t the runaway match of the night. That being said, neither guy would get anything out of it as Eddie dropped the title a month later and Jericho wouldn’t do anything until June when he won the Cruiserweight Title and was in that division for like a year.
Faces of Fear vs. Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy
This was supposed to be a four corners match with the Steiners but the Outsiders and Syxx ran their car off the road to injure them, filmed it, and AIRED IT ON NITRO. Naturally the Steiners said let us win the titles in a match instead of, you know, PROSECUTING THEM AS FELONS! This isn’t for the #1 contender spot because the Steiners aren’t in it if that makes sense.
Rocco Rock is bald now. Rock and Barbarian start us off. Powerslam gets two for the Samoan/Tongan/stereotype of the island monster. Stevie comes in and Rock gets beaten up a bit more. Grunge comes in and Heat takes him down with ease. Booker gets the axe kick for two on Grunge. Dusty is of course losing his mind over everything here and won’t shut up.
Booker gets a side slam and a Spinarooni to set up the Harlem Side Kick to take Grunge down. Meng comes in and beats on Booker a lot, including hitting a dropkick of all things. Clubberin commences and Booker is in trouble. Belly to belly superplex gets two for Barbarian. Meng hits a Piledriver on Booker for two. The Islanders hit their signature powerbomb combo for two and everything breaks down. Public Enemy hits a double team move off the top with no tag whatsoever and the referee is like whatever and gets the pin on Barbarian. Sure why not.
Rating: D-. So this was a bad match with nothing on the line and the ending was completely against tag team rules. Well of course it was. And this made it to PPV. Having Tony remind us that even though Public Enemy won a big tag team match but ARE NOT #1 contenders really points out how stupid this was.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael
Mongo is a Horseman and if Jarrett wins, he gets to be the fifth Horseman, which would be Benoit, Flair, Anderson, Mongo and Jarrett. This is when Jarrett had long hair, country music and not a shred of credibility. Flair and Anderson are out with injuries at this point so this is more or less an attempt to build up a new generation. Also Debra is in the middle of all this.
Someone keeps ringing a cowbell at ringside. Jarrett gets a hiptoss and struts a bit. Powerslam gets no cover for Mongo. Debra stops Mongo and here comes Jarrett. Out to the floor again and it’s all Mongo. Terribly boring stuff here as Jarrett has no heat and Mongo isn’t anything good at all. It would be about a year and a half before Jarrett got anything resembling credibility which seemed to happen when he cut his hair.
Lots of choking and slow moving stuff here like walking around. Sleeper by Mongo and Jarrett gets a suplex to escape. Debra isn’t sure who to help. Cross body gets two for Jarrett and the referee goes down on the kickout. Mongo wants his briefcase but Debra says no, throwing it over his head so Jarrett can clock Mongo with it and become a Horseman.
Rating: D. This is one of those matches that is technically ok but at the same time there was nothing going on. They were in slow motion almost all the time and the stakes meant nothing as no one bought either guy as a Horseman. Weak match overall and of course they feuded forever, eventually over the US Title.
Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan
This is a death match which means street fight. Jackie is with Sullivan and Woman is with Benoit. The chicks will be strapped together for no apparent reason. These two feuded FOREVER and it never particularly went anywhere other than giving us one or two great matches and then the guys trying to redo the matches over and over again which never worked. This would be (I think/hope) the final one.
Both pairs start brawling and it’s a nice pop for that surprisingly. The women are the focus here of course as Benoit and Sullivan have the most basic match you can have that is still classified as pro wrestling. They’re suplexing each other, as in butterfly/regular varieties, in a DEATH match. Woman crotches Sullivan with the strap and the girls get unattached. Benoit gets hung, which I guess you could call foreshadowing?
Dusty freaks out because a woman is doing something so this is turned into a total joke. The girls beat on the guys as I want this to end very badly. The guys watch the girls then wake up and beat on each other. The girls get left in the ring as the guys fight up the aisle. It’s split screen time because WCW enjoys doing that for some reason.
The guys fight into the back and we’re on one screen now. They throw stuff at each other and it’s time to go back into the arena after about a minute or so. The referee, ever the genius, stayed with the girls instead of going to the back where a pin could have happened. Back in the ring and Benoit gets caught in the Tree of Woe, which is one of Sullivan’s finishers.
Woman saves and Benoit pops up to piledrive Sullivan. Jackie doesn’t hit Woman but she falls down anyway. It’s table time which wasn’t a well known wrestling thing yet so it was still a fairly big deal. Sullivan goes on the table, Jackie gets on top of him for the sake of protection, Benoit is like screw it and dives on both of them, the table doesn’t break, Sullivan is pinned under the table.
Rating: D. Terribly boring stuff here as this was a DEATH match and it was a comedy match. No idea what they thought the appeal to this would be but it didn’t work in the slightest. This feud was straight up played already so they kept going with it for months and months on end. Weak match, feud sucked, wasn’t funny.
LONG post match stuff sees everyone in the back not known as a wrestler comes out to help them and everyone goes out on a stretcher. Eats up like 6 minutes. Naturally Dusty says Hogan and Piper could end up like this. Can you imagine either of them either coming off the top or going through a table? Give me a break. Woman doesn’t look bad with her hair pulled back.
Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. The Giant
Ok so there’s a backstory here. Giant and Luger are partners but Luger has a broken hand/arm and couldn’t get a doctor’s clearance in time so Giant has to go this alone. Syxx is with the champs. Hall starts off here with the idea being to tick Giant off. Hall hammers away which seems to just be getting him in trouble. One armed slam by Giant and it’s off to Nash. This was the teased match for an entire year which didn’t happen until the following January because Nash didn’t want to job to Giant.
Giant gets a dropkick to send Nash to the floor and manhandles him with ease, including ramming him into the post. Elbow gets two back in the ring. Nash gets in a shot with the Cruiserweight Title and Hall adds what was supposed to be a bulldog but Hall manages to wind up behind Giant, making it more like a Zig Zag.
Basically this is 3-1 and that’s about what was expected. Nash misses the running pelvis to the head with Giant on the middle rope in a 619 position. That move REALLY needs a name. Off to Hall again who hammers away in the corner. Giant fights them off as Syxx comes in and slips the belt to Hall who drops Giant with it. Nash manages to powerbomb Giant in a cool spot as somehow we haven’t had a DQ yet.
Here’s Luger with a cast on to clean house. He Racks Nash who hurt his back on the powerbomb. That rings a bell for a submission somehow but wait, Nash wasn’t legal. Therefore Giant (illegal) chokeslams Hall, the legal man, and pins him for the definitive pin. Naturally this was overturned the next night on Nitro for literally no reason other than “that wasn’t legal” but it was a stupid moment so I can forgive it.
Rating: D+. Match was junk for the most part but that powerbomb was indeed awesome. Nash vs. Giant would FINALLY get blown off 11 months later because WCW saw no problem with Nash screwing over a PPV audience at Starrcade. Anyway, this was more stupid stuff that meant nothing if you were paying attention but it’s WCW so there you go.
We really have to do the main event now don’t we?
WCW World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper
WCW didn’t do video packages at all and it took a bit to get used to it. Ok so Piper debuted at Halloween Havoc because a mere four years since he meant anything were seen as nothing I guess. Piper got to set up the contract at Starrcade so for some reason he made it non-title. Piper then went to Alcatraz for a week because WCW thought we would care. Piper has said he’s not WCW for whatever reason but it’s not like anyone cares again. Let’s get this over with.
Piper is of course covered in a dirty shirt which is full of holes as they actually tried to make us believe he was in a closed prison for a week. Hogan stalls, apparently channeling his inner Memphis. Piper chases him in the aisle and goes after his eye for no apparent reason back in the ring. There’s a low blow as this isn’t going to be wrestling is it?
Total brawl of course and Piper no sells a low blow. NWO people come out and Piper beats them up like Sting, Luger, Savage and Giant couldn’t because he’s old I guess. Piper no sells everything and brawls, using eye pokes (nyuk nyuk nyuk), punches, biting and choking. Hogan gets crotched on the top to add to the “comedy” of this match I’m guessing.
Here come Sting and Savage, who were hanging out at the time. Savage leaves Sting there but Sting stops him. Hogan finally gets a shot in as Savage is chilling on the floor. The fans LOUDLY cheer for Sting as Hogan gets two. Sting just leaves as Hogan beats on Piper. At this time it wasn’t clear whose side Sting was on so this was normal for him. Bear hug by Hogan as we see that Savage has lightning bolts on his clothes just like Hogan. Gee, foreshadowing much?
Another low blow sets up the sleeper by Piper and out of absolutely nowhere we’re done. It’s as abrupt as it sounds. And then after Piper’s hand is raised, Savage pulls Hogan’s feet under the ropes even though the referee could see the 10 inches plus between the feet and the ropes. Savage slips something on Hogan’s hand, Piper gets drilled, Savage is in the NWO and Hogan keeps the title while no one really gets what’s going on at all. The idea is Savage was thrown out of WCW so it was NWO or nothing else.
Rating: F. The match sucked as neither guy could move in the slightest so they were put in back to back PPV main events. The ending is completely stupid as no one got what was going on and it’s designed to make Hogan look even weaker than before. Terrible main event and one of the worst ever. Tony not mentioning Savage pulling him under the ropes after the match doesn’t help either as we saw Savage pull him.
Piper gets beaten down post match and it’s a huge moment or something because Piper was the big savior I guess. Beating ends the show.
Overall Rating: D. There’s some watchable stuff on here but the pacing really hurt this show. They had all their exciting matches at the beginning so after the Guerrero/Jericho match they had nothing else they could go with to pick the crowd up. Not the worst WCW show ever, but nothing worth seeing at all because it’s more NWO dominance as they get stronger with Savage now. Another weak show.
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.
Been watching the VERY UNDERRATED Superbrawl III (would like to see a retro rant)…and have a few questions: 1) What was up with Benoit being there? Was he a one shot deal? Supposed to be more? Don't remember him from this period. 2) When did the Heavenly Bodies switch from Pritchard/Lane to Pritchard/Del Rey and why? 3) Why did Flair return on this shown but not win the title until ten months later? and 4) What happened to Missy Hyatt? She was SMOKING hot on this show.
1. They were basically trying him out and didn't really know what they wanted to do with him at that point.
2. Lane retired and went to WWE as an announcer.
3. He won the NWA World title/International World title from Windham very shortly after this show.