Classic Wrestling Review: Fall Brawl ’94

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Fall Brawl

September 18, 1994

Roanoke Civic Center

Roanoke, Virginia

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News & Notes: A rematch between Hogan and Flair was set for Clash of the Champions in August. Hogan came out to do an interview with Mean Gene at the event, but a masked man clubbed him in the knee with a lead pipe. This was done as a reference to the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident from the Olympics. It was also done because Hogan’s early WCW contract only included a limited number of appearances. He had something similar to what Brock Lesnar does nowadays. Hogan would not wrestle on Fall Brawl, so this storyline was created as a reason. Hogan would return later in the night to face Flair because Nick Bockwinkel was going to give the belt to Ric by forfeit. The match happened, but Flair won by count-out and the masked man returned to help Flair attack Hogan. Ric would then claim he heard Hogan submit during the match and started calling himself the real world’s champion. He even carried around a replica of the Big Gold Belt. But, Bockwinkel suspended Flair because he believed Ric was behind the attack. Now, both men have a kayfabe reason not to appear on this PPV.

With Hogan and Flair out, the main event of Fall Brawl would be a War Games match. Dustin Rhodes’ issues with the Stud Stable escalated after Bash at the Beach. Dusty Rhodes returned and asked Dustin to team with him against Terry Funk & Bunkhouse Buck. Dustin agreed, and they had a match at the Clash, but it ended in DQ. The issues were far from over, so WCW booked a War Games Match. Dusty went looking for partners, and he found some in the Nasty Boys. The last we saw them, the Nasties were heels, so the announcers speculated whether Dusty could trust them. Meanwhile, The Stud Stable team seemed complete until the WCW officials announced that Meng couldn’t compete in the match. They ordered Colonel Parker himself to enter instead.

Also, a mysterious man started appearing in the crowd at WCW events. He was dressed like a trucker and wore a red shirt that said Blacktop Bully on the back of it. He would harass wrestlers with an air horn and talk trash. The commentators acknowledged him and expressed their annoyance at his presence. He would appear at this event as well. This is Barry Darsow, whom you may remember as Demolition Smash and the Repo Man. The appearances are leading to his debut as a character.

Fall Brawl opens with what looks like a video game simulation of a fighter jet. It’s struck by a missile and the pilot sends out a mayday, but the narrator would rather talk about the show than help. He runs down the card while they show low-rez footage of wrestlers speaking and gesturing. The entire intro looks like a Playstation 1 cut scene.

Then, Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to the show and asks the fans to stand for the national anthem. Country music star Martin Delray does the honors. WCW must be low on money after paying Hogan because this guy is scraping the bottom of the barrel. He only released two albums and the second one was two years before this event. Perhaps he’s related to Jimmy Del Ray and the gigolo put in a good word for him. He does a decent but unremarkable rendition of the song.

Next, Tony is with Bobby Heenan and Mean Gene. Bobby is wearing a neck brace because he finally had surgery for his long-standing neck issues. Tony talks about the matches and Heenan says they’re going to blow the roof off the building. Gene then says he’s going to speak with both Hogan and Flair by satellite later in the night. The fans boo when they hear Hogan’s name. Tony continues talking about the card and announces that Ricky Steamboat is injured. Gene confirms this news and says there will be a decision regarding the U.S. Title.

TV Title Match: Johnny B. Badd vs. Lord Steven Regal (c) (w/ Sir William)

Notes: Regal had a small feud with Antonio Inoki after Bash at the Beach. They had a match at Clash of the Champions and Inoki won, but it was not for the title. Now, Regal has to continue his feud with Badd, much to his chagrin. He claimed he beat Johnny multiple times and didn’t understand why had to face him again. However, Regal changed his tune when Badd punched Sir William.

Regal wears a powdered wig to the ring, which greatly amuses Tony Schiavone. Heenan explains it’s the proper way to dress for a sporting event in England. Heenan calls out Tony for not mocking Badd’s outfit. He says Johnny dresses like a gumball. Tony ignores him.

The Match: They trade holds, and Badd keeps getting the advantage. He reverses Regal’s pin attempts and gives him an airplane spin. Regal tumbles out of the ring and Johnny hits a slingshot cross body. But, Badd misses another one in the ring and Regal takes control with hard strikes. Sir William also chokes Badd with his umbrella. Regal maintains control until Badd surprises him with a back drop and a flying head scissors. He then does a slingshot sunset flip from the apron. William senses danger and starts interfering, but Regal accidentally hits him. Then, Badd surprises Regal with multiple pin attempts until he finally gets him with a backslide for the win.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this match. Regal wrestled a technical style with an aggressive edge, and Badd had some exciting comebacks. The final couple of minutes were well crafted. The crowd was absolutely hot for the finish. Everything was crisp and well-executed. This is exactly what you want in an opening bout.

Winner: Johnny B. Badd (New Champion) (11:08)

Tony and Bobby talk about the match and Heenan says the Queen will be mad. Tony gives him a look and questions when Bobby has ever cared what the Queen thinks. Then, they recap the Hogan/Flair situation. They show the events from Clash of the Champions, and Tony says it was a plan to take Hogan out of the sport. Gene claims he spoke with G. Gordon Liddy and they both think Heenan was involved. Heenan takes offense, but he says he doesn’t want to talk about it. Gene plugs his hotline instead and promises all the dirt.

Loser Leaves WCW Match: Kevin Sullivan (w/ Dave Sullivan) vs. Cactus Jack

Notes: I will discuss Foley’s reasons for leaving WCW after the match. For now, I will talk about the storyline. Cactus & Sullivan lost the tag titles at Bash at the Beach and Cactus’ demeanor changed. He attacked Dave Sullivan and gave him a Double-Arm DDT on the floor. He also did the same to Kevin. Jack then cut a promo saying Sullivan convinced him to forego surgery to repair his ear so they could win the tag titles. He blamed him for missing that opportunity and said it was Sullivan’s fault that both his wife and children couldn’t look at his mangled face. WCW attempted to make Jack the heel in this feud, but it doesn’t quite work. The fans still cheer Cactus. It doesn’t help that Sullivan isn’t a sympathetic babyface. Kevin regularly abused his brother Dave because Dave was an unabashed Hulk Hogan fan and that annoyed Kevin. Dave continued playing the peacekeeper in this rivalry, despite Cactus attacking him. He was simply confused by the entire mess.

The Match: It immediately becomes a brawl both in and outside the ring. Sullivan whips Cactus over the rail, but Jack responds by pulling up the floor mats. He tries dropping an elbow off the turnbuckles, but Dave stops him. So, Sullivan grabs Cactus and slams him all the way to the exposed concrete. The brawl continues in and out of the ring and Jack tries to piledrive Kevin on the floor. But, Sullivan reverses it into a back drop and Cactus lands on the concrete a second time. Cactus fights back and attempts to use a chair until Dave stops him. However, Dave also stops Kevin from doing the same. Sullivan tries to confront him and Jack charges at them, but Sullivan moves. Jack then collides with Dave, so Kevin rolls him up for the win.

Thoughts: This was a decent brawl and Cactus took some nasty bumps, but I think it was too short. It didn’t have time to fully build up the tension. They did a good job of weaving the ongoing Dave Sullivan storyline into the match, but I still don’t care much for it. Now, I need to discuss why Cactus left WCW. Jack saw the writing on the wall. Ric Flair was booking WCW, and the two of them constantly butted heads. Flair told Cactus he would wind up in a wheelchair and it was for nothing. Also, WCW convinced Jack to return to action instead of getting his ear fixed. If they weren’t going to let him fix it; he at least wanted them to build a feud with Vader to capitalize. But, they wouldn’t do that either. Jack knew it was time to leave, so he gave his notice. He would continue working in ECW and Japan to make ends meet.

Winner: Kevin Sullivan (6:08)

Mean Gene is backstage with the Stud Stable. He tells them there is no tomorrow, but Buck disagrees. He interrupts Gene and accuses him of putting the cart before the horse. He also calls the WCW officials liars and cheats because they put Colonel Parker in the match instead of Meng. Gene teases Parker about his conditioning, but Robert says he will pull off his coat and tie and get in the ring if he has to. But, he also implies Meng might still get involved. Then, Funk says he volunteers to take the front line against the FBI. I was a little confused at first. I’m unsure what he has against Little Guido and the Full Blooded Italians. However, Funk clarifies that he means the Fat Boys Incorporated. That got a chuckle from me. Next, Arn Anderson says the time has come to reach into their manhood and pull out something. Whoa! Easy there, Arn! Meng then ends the interview by throwing some karate kicks at the camera.

Next, Tony and Bobby talk about the U.S. Title situation. Tony implies that Steamboat’s reign might come to an abrupt end. Heenan jokes about not liking or even knowing Steamboat, so Tony looks around in disbelief. Steve Austin then makes his entrance to meet with Nick Bockwinkel in the ring. Steamboat joins them, but he’s in street clothes. Bockwinkel says he’s sorry to announce that doctors won’t allow Steamboat to wrestle. It’s possible it might be forever. He strips the title from Steamboat and returns the belt to Austin. The fans boo. Steamboat tells Austin he beat him for the belt, but Steve didn’t beat him. Austin responds by calling him a mealy-mouthed Hawaiian punk and starts to leave, but Bockwinkel stops him. He informs him he will defend the title tonight. Austin refuses, but Nick threatens to take away the belt if he doesn’t. He then introduces his opponent—Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

U.S. Title Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Stunning Steve Austin (c)

Notes: Ricky Steamboat beat Austin for the U.S. Title at Clash of the Champions, but he suffered a career-ending back injury during the match. Ricky would retire until his brief comeback in 2009.

Before the match, Austin and Bockwinkel continue arguing. Austin says he’s not going to wrestle and tries to leave. Nick grabs him, so Austin turns around and Duggan attacks.

The Match: Duggan back drops Austin and pins him for the quick victory. Austin is so surprised he stumbles around the ring and runs into the ropes.

Thoughts: This is disheartening. All of the momentum Austin had was squashed in seconds. The crowd reacted well to it, but I hated this. Hogan’s buddies are already encroaching on the established WCW talent. Austin would never forget this treatment. He would use it to fuel some great promos in ECW. It would also be one of the reasons we never saw an Austin/Hogan match. It’s disappointing to see Austin like this, but it probably helped build Austin into what he became. It was a necessary evil in the story of Steve’s career.

Winner: Jim Duggan (New Champion) (00:35)

Gene gets a word with Hacksaw and congratulates him on his win. Duggan calls it the greatest night his life. He leads the fans in a USA chant and says, “God bless America.” Duggan then starts walking away, but he returns and calls Ric Flair bogus. He says Hogan is his friend. And, Duggan says he’s never seen Hulk more focused and angry. He then gives the fans some rather foul language. He says—god darn! I’m appalled. See what you did, Flair? You made Hacksaw curse! Finally, Duggan tells Flair that Hogan is coming for him and then leaves. Then, more patriotic music plays. I thought they used the wrong music for Duggan, but it’s for the entrance of Stars & Stripes. Even Schiavone can’t help but point out the similarity of the theme songs.

Tag Team Title Match: Pretty Wonderful (c) vs. Stars & Stripes

Notes: Marcus Alexander Bagwell is back, and he found a new tag team partner in The Patriot. They formed a team called Stars & Stripes and quickly earned themselves this match with a non-title win over Pretty Wonderful. Del Wilkes is the man behind the Patriot gimmick. Del is a former football player, so Jim Ross must love him. He wrestled in the AWA, GWF, and AJPW before coming to WCW. He’s known for his American-themed mask. But, their opponents, Pretty Wonderful, claim he wears the mask because he’s a draft dodger.

Stars & Stripes enter the arena and get into a confrontation with the Blacktop Bully. Doug Dillinger prevents them from fighting and removes the Bully from the arena. Tony is quite pleased to see him leave. Then, Pretty Wonderful arrive and stall as much as they can before the match begins.

The Match: Stars & Stripes get the early advantage by taking turns working over the arms of both Orndorff and Roma. But, Orndorff grabs Bagwell from the apron and Pretty Wonderful double team him. They send Bagwell to the floor where Orndorff uses Heenan’s drink cooler as a weapon and dumps ice on Marcus. Then, the attack continues until Bagwell reverses a piledriver attempt. Marcus finally makes a tag, but the ref misses it. The Patriot cleans house anyway because he doesn’t hear the ref’s warnings. So, Pretty Wonderful use the opening. Orndorff gives Bagwell a piledriver on the floor and rolls him inside for the pin.

Thoughts: This was a surprisingly enjoyable match. The crowd was hot, and they did enough to keep it interesting. I liked the use of Heenan’s cooler. It was a unique spot. Plus, the heel work of Pretty Wonderful was good. The only issue is the finish made the Patriot seem a bit dense. Referee Randy Anderson told him multiple times he wasn’t the legal man and he apparently couldn’t hear him. Perhaps the mask has no ear holes.

Winners: Pretty Wonderful (12:54)

Gene is backstage with The Rhodes family and the Nasty Boys. Everyone except Dustin is wearing Nasty Boys colors. I guess he didn’t get the memo. Sags calls the aisle Nasty Boulevard and the ring Nastyville. He also threatens to make the other team eat the cage. Then, Knobbs claims they’re going to shove a nasty sensation down their opponents’ throats. Geez, did the two teams have a bet on who could get away with the dirtier innuendo? Next, Dustin tells Arn Anderson he isn’t and never has been a man and says it’s time to go to war. Finally, Dusty talks about different types of games and claims Parker will squeal like a pig. He calls himself the nasty dream and says we ain’t seen nothing yet. Dusty then repeats the line about squealing like a pig while Knobbs yells, “War, baby!”

Then, Tony plugs Halloween Havoc before they go to a video package explaining the Triangle Match. Mean Gene talks about the troubles between Vader and The Angel and Vader and Sting. They show clips from both feuds. Gene also points out that Sting and Angel have never faced each other. They do a good job of putting over how all three men want to be #1 Contender.

#1 Contender Triangle Match: Vader vs. Sting vs. The Guardian Angel

Notes: This is a Triangle Match to determine the #1 Contender to Hogan’s WCW Title, but the rules are rather odd. They hold a coin-toss to determine who will begin the match. The winner will get a bye while the other two fight. Once someone is eliminated, the odd-man-out steps in to wrestle. Each round has a 15-minute time-limit. If there’s no decision, they get a 5-minute overtime. Then, it goes to sudden death where the first person to leave their feet loses. The rules are way too convoluted. Also, how do you do a three-way coin-toss? They don’t explain it. They simply announce the winner of the toss without fanfare. Sting wins, so Vader and Angel begin the bout.

The Match: Vader and Angel test their strength before the match becomes a slug-fest. Vader tries to slow it down with a chinlock, but soon they brawl to the floor. Vader hits the post on a missed avalanche attack, and Angel takes him back into the ring. The ref ends up getting wiped out by another missed avalanche, but Angel nails the Bossman Slam. Race uses the opening to attack Angel, so Vader does a Vader Bomb for the elimination. (First Elimination: Angel) There’s a 30-second rest before Sting enters the match. He shakes off much of Vader’s offense until Vader overpowers him. Vader then hits a Vader Bomb, but he misses a second. Race tries interfering again, but Sting stops him and continues attacking Vader. Vader ends up missing a moonsault and Sting impressively hits a Samoan Drop. Also, he catches Vader in a powerslam when Vader dives off the turnbuckles. Then, Sting puts Vader in the Scorpion Deathlock, but time expires.

They go into overtime, but neither man can get a pin-fall. Sting blocks a superplex, but Vader hits a powerbomb. However, overtime expires without a winner. Next, they go into sudden death where the first man to leave his feet loses. Vader peppers Sting with short-arm clotheslines and forearms, but he won’t fall. Sting answers with punches and a shoulder block, but Vader is steady. Race tries once more to interfere, but Angel returns to stop him. Unfortunately, this distracts the ref, and he misses Vader falling to the mat. Then, the masked man returns and clubs Sting in the leg. The ref turns in time to see Sting on the mat and awards the match to Vader. (Final Elimination: Sting)

Thoughts: The stipulation was convoluted on paper, but it worked well in execution. This was a great match. They did a good job of building drama and tension. It helps that all three of these men have good chemistry. The crowd was hot for this. The story they told was perfect. Vader is now the #1 Contender, but it will be a while until his feud with Hogan begins. Hogan has other business to attend to in the meantime.

Winner: Vader (30:22)

Tony and Bobby recap the night so far and Heenan jokes about Cactus Jack. He says he’s outside with a sign that reads, “Will wrestle for food.” Even Tony finds the joke funny. Then, they go to Gene who talks about the Hogan/Flair feud. He then says he has Flair standing by in Vegas and Hogan is in Florida. He goes to Hogan first. He’s in his gym working out and apparently getting his ducks in a row. Hogan says he has a surprise for Flair. He calls it his master plan. Jimmy Hart then arrives with a phone and says Flair wants to talk to Hulk. But, Flair has his lady friend do the talking first. Hogan jokes she must be one of Flair’s training partners. Hogan then compares Flair’s muscles to mashed potatoes, so the lady tells Hogan he can’t talk to the real world’s champion. But, Hogan doesn’t give up that easily. Flair then takes the phone and says he’s the real champion, but he’s retired. Hogan again claims he has a master plan, but Flair replies he doesn’t need to beat Hogan another time. Hogan brings up the attack on his leg and asks Flair if he’d like to get rid of Hogan once and for all. Hulk offers to put his career on the line if Flair returns to face him. Flair likes the sound of it, but he tells Hogan he heard him quit last time. He agrees to the match and promises to move Hogan out of the sport. Then, Ric promises to get Bockwinkel on the phone and make it official. Flair hangs up the phone, so Hogan claims he suckered Ric. His knee isn’t as bad as he said. He also says he dreams about breaking Flair in half and gloats over tricking Flair into the match.

Bobby and Tony are in shock and talk about the challenge. Then, Gene welcomes Bockwinkel who says he spoke with Hogan and knew about his idea. He says Flair will be reinstated because he agreed to the match. Hogan’s career will be on the line, but Nick adds the match will take place inside a steel cage at Halloween Havoc. Gene thinks that’s a bad idea because it will be hell for both men. Nick says it has to be in a cage because of all the outside interference.

War Games Match: Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, & The Nasty Boys vs. (The Stud Stable) Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck, & Col. Parker (w/ Meng)

Notes: Michael Buffer does his usual hyperbole. He compares War Games to actual soldiers fighting for their country. That’s a bit much. He then says these eight men will test their manhood. Then, Tony recaps the feud. They show a clip from Saturday Night where Gene announces that Parker will be in the match. Parker says he doesn’t even own a pair of tights. Meng goes crazy and tries to attack Gene, so Gene threatens to get his lawyers. Next, they recap Anderson turning on Dustin and Dusty asking Dustin to choose him as his partner. They also show clips from the Clash of Dusty breaking a wooden chair over Meng’s head. Meng shakes it off like it was nothing. Next, they show Dusty recruiting the Nasty Boys at a bar. The Nasties prove themselves by starting a bar fight.

The Match: Dustin and Arn are first. They ram each other into the cage and then fight between rings. Dustin traps Arn’s head in the gap and attempts to shove him into it. Then, Dustin hits a diving clothesline from one ring to the other. But, Arn catches him with a DDT. The round ends and the Stud Stable wins the coin-toss. So, Bunkhouse Buck enters. Arn & Buck double team Dustin and attack both his arms and legs. This continues until Sags enters the match. He clotheslines both men, sends them into the cage, and gives Buck a piledriver. Funk joins the match next and removes his boot. He hits Dustin with it, but he falls over the ropes in the process. Funk’s wild flurry continues until Sags gives Terry a piledriver between the rings. Funk then falls into the gap and disappears for a moment. Knobbs is the next entrant and the Nasties get a hold of Funk’s boot. They clean house until it’s time for a reluctant Parker to join them. He doesn’t enter until Buck grabs Dustin. Then, Parker and Funk remove their belts and start whipping Dustin’s team. Finally, the last round ends and Dusty enters the fray.

Dusty hands out bionic elbows to everyone on Parker’s team and sends them into the wall. He gets his hands on Parker, and the Nasties whip him around the ring. They also hit an assisted corner splash before Dusty puts Parker in the Figure Four. Next, the Nasties drop multiple elbows onto Robert and even some splashes. It’s too much for Parker, so he submits.

Thoughts: You could see the finish coming from a mile away. Meng should have been in this match. Putting Parker in it telegraphed the finish. Some of the action was decent, but this match was a foregone conclusion. The ending was disappointing, but there were a few amusing moments. Funk falling between the rings gave me a good laugh. The only good thing was the crowd was hot for everything. Everything else was flat and predictable.

Winners: Dustin Rhodes’ Team (19:05)

After the match, Meng enters the ring and tries headbutting a cameraman. He then checks on Parker while Tony and Bobby recap the match. Meng looks quite angry at Parker’s fate, so Tony says that won’t be good for someone. Parker claims he’s busted up inside, so Arn and Funk call for some help.

Tony and Bobby then discuss the show. Tony talks about the new champions and the involvement of the masked man. Gene joins them and discusses Bockwinkel’s announcement about the Hogan/Flair match. He still can’t believe it will be a Cage Match. Heenan brings up Hogan’s mental state and says he backed himself into a corner. Bobby thinks both men’s careers could be over after it. Gene then talks about how proceeds for Halloween Havoc will go to Muhammad Ali’s charity. However, Tony says there’s a disturbance backstage concerning Meng. They don’t show the footage. They ask fans to tune into the weekend programs to see it. Then, Tony says goodnight as they air clips of the masked man interfering in the Triangle Match.

The Good:

– The opener was fun.

– The Tag Title Match was surprisingly good.

– The Triangle Match was great.

– There were a couple of funny promos.

The Bad:

– Austin/Duggan

– The main event was disappointing.

Performer of the Night:

I’m giving it to Vader. He essentially wrestled two matches in one and didn’t seem winded. He was laying in some stiff shots during that match too. It was fun to watch.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I would call this a fairly solid show. The War Games match was disappointing, but it wasn’t terrible. Everything else, except the Austin/Duggan match, was good to great. It was enjoyable. The lack of a WCW Title Match made it feel slightly less important, but that didn’t ruin it.

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My next review will be WCW’s Halloween Havoc ‘94. Look for it next Saturday!


Written by Paul Matthews

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