Classic Wrestling Review: SuperBrawl

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

Superbrawl

May 19, 1991

Bayfront Arena

St. Petersburg, Florida

In March, WCW held the WCW/Japan Supershow in Tokyo. Ric Flair defended the WCW/NWA World Title against Tatsumi Fujinami and Fujinami appeared to win the match. However, Flair took the belt with him back to the U.S. and WCW declared that Flair won the match by DQ because Fujinami threw him over the top rope. Both men had a claim to the world title, so Japan recognized Fujinami as the NWA champion and WCW recognized Flair as the WCW champion. A rematch was set for Superbrawl to determine who was the undisputed World Champion.

Meanwhile, tensions between Flair and Jim Herd were escalating behind the scenes. Herd still wanted to find a suitable replacement for Flair because he considered him too old and blamed him for declining ratings. Herd was also suggesting that Flair shave his head and adopt a Spartacus gimmick as an attempt to revitalize Flair’s character. These tensions would soon become too much, but I will discuss that more at the end of the review.

The show opens with multiple American and Japanese flags mixed with clips of different wrestlers on the show. The collage spins around in an almost dizzying fashion while the Superbrawl theme plays. Then, we cut to a shot of the crowd. It’s better than the crowd from WrestleWar, but there are still empty seats. Gary Cappetta then introduces Mandy Brown to sing “America the Beautiful.” I think her name is Mandy. Gary says, “Randy,” but everything I saw online says it’s Mandy. Also, since when does WCW use “America the Beautiful” instead of the national anthem? I thought that was the WWF’s thing.

She sings a pretty good rendition of the song, but there are tracking problems on the WWE Network. I guess I was correct about Kevin Nash trying to destroy this master tape! I’m onto you, Nash!! You won’t get away with this!

Then, Jim Ross welcomes everyone to the show, and he’s joined again by Dusty Rhodes. Ross talks about twelve great matches and the four titles on the line. Dusty then talks about the controversy surrounding the title, and he gets quite excited about it.

U.S. Tag Team Title Match: The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Diamond Dallas Page & Big Daddy Dink) vs. The Young Pistols

Shortly before WrestleWar, The Steiners beat the Freebirds for the World Tag Titles at a TV taping. Yes, you read that correctly. WCW filmed the Freebirds losing the titles before they even won them. WCW would film multiple weeks of TV in one sitting, so anomalies like this were common. I’m sure the people at that TV taping were quite confused. Since the Steiners then held both tag titles, WCW made them vacate the U.S. straps. This match was set to determine the new U.S. Tag Champions.

Cappetta introduces DDP as the chairman of the Diamond Exchange, which is DDP’s stable of wrestlers. Dallas is wearing a headset, which he doesn’t realize is active. He speaks instructions over Cappetta’s introduction, so Gary has to stop talking. DDP calls the Freebirds the next U.S. Tag Champs and then fist-bumps Big Daddy Dink. The Young Pistols enter next, and they’ve apparently lost their last names. Now, they’re simply Steve & Tracy. They make finger-guns at the camera before entering the ring. You would think WCW would get them cap guns. While they prepare for the match, DDP leaves with the dolls and lets Dink handle the managing.

Hayes and Steve start the match and Michael does his usual stalling. Hayes gets quickly rolled up, so he attacks and sends Steve to the floor. The Freebirds try to whip Steve into Big Daddy, but Steve hits him and then hits a double clothesline on Hayes & Garvin. Dink ends up interfering again, so Steve’s brother Brad Armstrong arrives to even the odds. Ross says that Dink has a propensity for interference. Dusty doesn’t know what that means, but he likes the sound of it. The ref has enough and ejects Dink, so Brad leaves—for now. The Freebirds attempt some double teaming, but the Pistols can play that game too. Garvin tries to fight back, but Tracy makes an awkward blind tag to Steve. The Pistols hit a double shoulder block, so Garvin tags Hayes. Garvin then low-bridges Tracy, but he barely moves the rope and Tracy has to jump over it himself. They keep sending Tracy into the guardrail and then wear him down with a chinlock while a small, “Badstreet,” chant begins. Tracy finally fights back and hits 5 punches in the corner before blocking a reversal. Garvin tags in, but he gets superkicked. Soon, all four men are brawling and the Pistols attempt stereo missile dropkicks, but they miss. The Freebirds throw them to the floor, but they get caught by a surprise flying double clothesline from Tracy. The Pistols then hit a flying elbow version of the Hart Attack on Hayes. They attempt the same on Garvin, but accidentally take out the ref. This opens the door for some strange guy in black feathers and a mask to attack the Pistols. He has the word, “Fantasia,” written on his shirt. He hits DDTs out of the corner on both Pistols and then leaves. The ref recovers just in time to see Hayes covering and makes the 3 count.

There was too much stalling in this match for my taste. The Pistols’ offense looked good, and the finish was interesting, but most of the match was slow. Oddly enough, Fantasia is Brad Armstrong under a mask, which means he interfered for both teams during this match.

Winners: The Freebirds (New Champions) (10:19)

Dan Spivey vs. Ricky Morton

Ricky Morton enters first, and Ross talks about the size difference between the two men in this match. Dusty says he has confidence in Morton because he’s a great wrestler, but he also says something about controversy coming around Morton’s house. Spivey enters next, and Ross calls him the master of the powerbomb. I once saw Spivey nearly kill Johnny Ace with one, so I disagree. I’m sure Sid would have something to say about it, as well.

Spivey immediately backs Ricky into a corner and clobbers him with forearms. He then tries to throw Morton to the floor, but Ricky keeps returning and punching Dan. Unfortunately, Ricky ducks and Spivey hits a DDT. Dan follows this with a hard clothesline and a crucifix bomb. Ricky attempts a cross body, but Spivey catches him and hits a fallaway slam. Then, Dan hits a leg drop, but he only gets 2 because only one man wins with a leg drop, brother! Morton almost fights back with an arm drag, but both men trade missed moves. They also awkwardly run into each other on a miscommunication. Spivey recovers and then hits the powerbomb before pinning Ricky with a foot on his chest for the win. Morton is legitimately annoyed by this and kicks out after the 3 to show his displeasure.

This wasn’t bad for a short match. Spivey’s offense looked crisp for once, except that one misfire. I’m curious as to what Morton said to him backstage because Ricky did not look happy about the cocky pin.

Winner: Dan Spivey (3:11)

After the match, they show a replay and Dusty says Spivey’s powerbomb makes your ribs shake and shimmy. Then, Ross introduces Tony Schiavone and Missy Hyatt. He says they’re with a special guest.

The guest isn’t that special. It’s just Z-Man. Tony asks Zenk how he’s doing. Zenk replies that he’s out with a bicep injury, but he wouldn’t miss this show for the world. I’m not sure why, as this is his only appearance tonight. Tony then congratulates Susan Moody, who won some WCW sweepstakes. He doesn’t name the prize. Then, Tony talks about a fan vote to determine whether Missy would attempt to enter the locker room again for an interview. 60% of the fans voted yes. Tony asks Missy if she considers him a friend and she says that she does, but Tony responds by showing a clip of her last attempt. Missy says it’s not fair, while Tony tries not to laugh. Tony reassures her that both he and Zenk are behind her, so Missy asks Z-Man if he’s planning on showering later. She follows this up by reminding everyone that this is about a woman getting the equal opportunity to interview men in the dressing room. The cameraman then pans across the crowd and catches a fan making lewd gestures at Missy. Stay classy, Florida!

Nikita Koloff vs. Tommy Rich

Tommy Rich enters first through a smoke-filled entryway. Ross talks about how Rich is facing Dusty’s former tag team partner, Nikita Koloff. Rhodes says that Rich will have to be at the top of his game to beat Nikita. Koloff then enters to no music. He puffs out his chest as far as he can and has chains draped around his neck. Cappetta says Koloff is from Lithuania, but he still calls him the Russian Nightmare. Ross then talks about Nikita’s feud with Luger. WCW is slowly building to the showdown. I would be okay with that if I didn’t know it’s about to be dropped due to other circumstances.

Rich grabs a headlock early, but Nikita shoves him. Rich then hits a cross body instead and gets 2. Koloff backs him into a corner and the ref calls for a break, but Nikita hits knees and forearms instead. However, Koloff misses a charge and Rich rolls him up for another 2. Nikita answers by shouldering Tommy into a corner, but Rich fires back with punches and a running elbow. He attempts another one, but he misses. Dusty says, “The first time he got away with it. The devil made me do it the first time. Second time, I done it on my own!” Then, Nikita slams and chokes Rich. He follows up with a snap mare and an elbow drop for 2 before telling the ref he can count better. He spends too much time jawing at the ref and turns around into an uppercut by Rich. Tommy rams Koloff into the corner and hits 10 punches, but Nikita reverses a whip. Rich then tries to hit a cross body, but Koloff ducks and hits the Russian Sickle for the win.

This match was just filler to keep Nikita busy for the time being. There was some decent stuff, but it’s largely pointless. I guess it serves its purpose to keep Koloff in people’s minds, but that’s it.

Winner: Nikita Koloff (4:27)

They show a replay, but they use the wrong match graphic. It’s only on screen for a second, so it’s not terribly noticeable. Then, Ross says Tony is standing by for a very interesting interview.

Tony introduces a man he calls one of the most flamboyant athletes you’ll ever see in WCW, Johnny B. Badd. He’s accompanied by his manager, Theodore R. Long. Johnny struts down the ramp in pink tights, with a feather boa around his neck. I’m only familiar with mid-90s Johnny, so I forgot how blatant of a Little Richard rip-off he was. Dusty calls him pretty and says he reminds him of himself. Tony tries to introduce him, but Johnny says, “Oh hush, Tony. Hush!” Teddy Long then says he’s in St. Petersburg for two reasons. He’s there to make sure Ron Simmons is taken out and he also calls out P.N. News, who is a doughy rapper gimmick that was brought into WCW. He’s an awful wrestler and an even worse gimmick. He’s kind of a precursor to Men on a Mission, but there’s only one of him. Long says that News might consider himself a rap master, but Teddy is the Godfather of Soul. Teddy then asks what will happen when Johnny steps into the ring with P.N. News. Johnny replies that News is nothing but a big ol’ ugly bear and it will be a blessin’ to teach him a lesson. Long then says that Johnny has the fastest hands in wrestling and calls him the only real man in WCW. He also says all the fly girls can look but not touch before telling Tony he can’t touch either. Then, Johnny says, “I’m so pretty. I should have been born a little girl!” Oh, WCW. You’re so subtle. Teddy asks why he wasn’t, so Johnny replies that it’s because he’s a bad man!

Dusty says that Johnny might have taken it a little far, but Badd has a hard left hand, so he’s gotta be a man. Rhodes also says he’s looking forward to Badd vs. News. That makes one person. Hey—wait. Oh, I just got it. They’re pairing Badd against News. I see what you did there Dusty. It’s no wonder Dusty is smirking during this segment.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Terrance Taylor (w/ Alexandra York & Mr. Hughes)

Terry Taylor has changed his name slightly. It became a custom for York Foundation members to adopt a more civilized sounding name, so now he’s Terrance Taylor. Also, Big Cat has changed to the Mr. Hughes gimmick that he would use for the rest of his career. He’s graduated from being a big ham. I’m so proud of him. The York Foundation must have been equally proud because they hired him as a bodyguard.

Dustin enters first to a pretty good reaction. He’s getting over with the crowd, so I’ll give him credit. It appears that he stole the Ultimate Warrior’s leather jacket from Rumble ‘91 or he at least shops at the same store. Ross talks about how the York Foundation tried to recruit Dustin, but he rejected them. What would Dustin’s new name be if he had accepted? There isn’t a more sophisticated version of Dustin. Next, Taylor makes his entrance, but Cappetta first introduces some nameless suits as the board of directors for the York Foundation. They hand Alexandra her computer and she leads Taylor to the ring. Mr. Hughes follows them closely.

The two men grapple to the mat and trade holds to start, but Taylor becomes frustrated. He keeps regrouping with Alexandra for more data. Dustin and Terrance shove each other and Taylor hits a hip toss, but Dustin answers with an arm drag and an armbar. After regrouping again, Taylor returns and they trade punches and hip tosses. Taylor then attempts a cross body. It appears that Dustin was supposed to catch him and forgot because he bounces off Rhodes awkwardly. Dustin keeps getting the advantage and goes after Taylor’s arm until Dustin finally misses a cross body. He ends up on the ramp and Taylor snaps Dustin’s head across the ropes before suplexing him inside. Taylor maintains control until he foolishly goes for a flying axehandle to a downed Rhodes. I’m not sure what he hoped to accomplish there. Dustin raises his boot into Taylor’s face and follows it with a running clothesline. He also hits an inverted atomic drop, but Taylor gets a foot on the ropes on the pin attempt. Then, Dustin hits the bulldog, but Alexandra distracts the ref. Mr. Hughes gets on the apron and holds Dustin for a punch by Taylor. Dusty becomes angry, but Ross tells him not to get involved. Hughes then puts on a loaded glove, but he accidentally hits Taylor when Dustin ducks, so Dustin pins him for the win.

This match was awkward at times because Dustin is still green. It showed some signs of being good, but Dustin has a long way to go. With that said, the storyline work was good and the finish wasn’t too bad.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes (8:05)

Next, Ross talks about the following match and mentions Big Josh’s pet bears. He also talks about how Josh was supposed to face Larry Zbyszko, but Larry is injured. I’m guessing Larry simply didn’t want to job to the bear guy. Dusty talks about how Black Bart will be the stand-in for Larry. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Of all the people to bring back, why Black Bart? Dusty then talks about being excited for two live bears, so Ross jokes that it sounds like the name of a rap group.

Big Josh vs. Black Bart

Ross and Dusty talk about Black Bart’s history, as he makes his entrance. However, they say they know nothing about Big Josh’s history. All Dusty knows is that he has bears. Josh enters next and Cappetta says he’s joined by a couple of buddies. Josh leads two muzzled bears to the ring. They don’t rap, but they do look at the crowd with hungry glances. Josh is played by our old pal, Matt Borne. That means he’s gone from being on WrestleMania to pretending to be South African, to a lumberjack gimmick with live bears. What’s next? Are they going to dress him like a clown? Oh—wait.

The two men fight to the ropes and Bart clubs Josh, but Josh answers with a couple of hip tosses. Then, he walks on Bart’s belly, which Ross calls a log roll. This causes Dusty to begin rambling about throwing sacks of feed. I’m not sure what he’s saying. Bart fires back with eye rakes and a thumb to the throat, but Josh answers with chops and forearms. He even decks him right in the face. I think Josh might have taken exception to something Bart did. Then, Josh starts working over the arm, while Dusty claims Josh doesn’t know a lot of holds. Is he watching the match or is he confused and meant Bart? Black Bart retakes control with more eye-rakes, so Ross takes a moment to joke about Bart saying, “Dad-gum,” a lot. Dusty runs with the joke and says, “When he finishes dad-gummin’ ya, he will dad-nab ya and that’s the same thing as dad-burn ya. Let me tell ya!” Thanks, Dusty! Bart continues clubbing, choking, and raking Josh’s eyes, but Josh starts taking him to the mat by the arm. Josh then hits Bart with a running butt-drop and gets the win.

Bart slowed this match down to a crawl with his endless eye-rakes and choking. It was an uninteresting slug-fest. Josh looked okay on offense, but it wasn’t enough to save this match. This was more filler in a show with too much of it.

Winner: Big Josh (3:46)

They show a replay and Dusty asks what the finisher is called. Ross says it’s a butt-drop, but Dusty thinks butt-bump sounds better. Ross replies, “Speaking of big butts. Gary Cappetta is about to introduce one!”

Gary introduces a special edition of The Danger Zone, with Paul E. Dangerously. He introduces Paul as the only true cowboy in New York, as Paul E. walks to the ring in a pink shirt, cargo shorts, and a cowboy hat. Paul grabs a mic and tells everyone to shut their mouths, but the mic stops working. Heyman blames the state of Florida for the shoddy equipment and then introduces his guest, Stan Hansen. Stan is already at the ring before Paul E. can finish and he starts stalking Paul. Heyman tries to tell Stan he’s a big fan and says he dressed like a cowboy for him. Hansen replies that if Paul is a cowboy, he’d have to do a little work, but Paul E.’s never done work in his life. Stan then takes Paul’s hat and says it’s not a real cowboy hat because it’s made in New York City. Then, Hansen sends a message to Zenk, Pillman, and especially Dustin Rhodes. He says he was there tonight, but none of them fought him. He also tells Dustin to get rid of his father and step into the ring with a real man. Stan says he’s ready for Dustin and then leaves the ring. Paul E. starts singing the praises of Hansen and says he doesn’t sit behind a mic like Dusty. He compares Stan to General Schwarzkopf but says that Hansen stays home and fights for his family. Then, he talks about Bobby Eaton and Ric Flair, but the mic stops working again. He blames Florida once more and then says he quits this job. I would say this is pointless, but I know they’re supposed to be building Paul E.’s frustrations for a bigger storyline in a few months. Since I know where this is heading, I don’t mind it.

Now, for something completely different. The entryway fills with smoke and ominous music begins playing. The atmosphere is kind of ruined by a sound tech saying, “Tell me when.” Then, a voiceover starts telling a fairy-tale. He says that once upon a time, there lived a wizard, but NOT the Wizard of Oz. However, he contradicts himself by saying it’s the powerful wizard that rules over Oz. Who wrote this dialogue? I’m guessing Dusty. Dorothy and her companions climb onto the ramp and the fans immediately start booing. Dorothy is led by a stooped old wizard, which is Kevin Sullivan in a mask. He has a monkey on his shoulder, that reportedly left quite a mess in his wake. The old man keeps saying, “Welcome to Oz,” as they walk towards a towering figure in bright green robes. One fan in the crowd yells, “Shut up!” Sullivan ignores the fan and keeps repeating his line until the tall figure tells Dorothy to step forward. He calls himself Oz the great and powerful. He doesn’t look like James Franco to me. Then, Oz yells, “Who are you? WHO ARE YOU!?” He doesn’t let them answer. Instead, he tells them he will show the world who Oz really is. This segment is awful and the crowd rightfully hated it. Also, the smoke was apparently sulfur-based, so this entire thing literally and figuratively stunk up the joint. Sadly, it’s not over because Oz heads to the ring for a match.

Oz (w/ The Wizard) vs. Tim Parker

The community theater actors scatter, as Oz’s music plays and the Wizard leads him to the ring. The Wizard keeps repeating, “Welcome to Oz,” in an annoying voice. I’m sure Sullivan was glad his face was hidden. (On a side note, Oz’s theme sounds like the bass-line to “Another One Bites the Dust” with synthesizer music played over it.) Dusty says, “This just knocked my socks off, right here!” Ross gets in on the fun by calling Oz huge. I’m sure Ross silently hated this. How is he supposed to talk about the football background of a storybook character? Then, Oz enters the ring and takes off his old man mask to reveal—Kevin Nash with gray powder in his hair.

Oz is facing a jobber named Tim Parker. He makes quick work of him with some shoulder blocks and a helicopter slam. He pins the poor sap with a boot on his chest. The Wizard gives the crowd one last, “WELCOME TO OZ!!” He sounds almost euphoric.

This was just a squash for an awful character. The crowd instantly hated it. The only reason this gimmick exists is that Ted Turner had bought the rights to a bunch of MGM movies, so Dusty thought it would be fun to base a gimmick off of one.

Winner: Oz (0:26)

Meanwhile, Missy Hyatt is outside the dressing room for her second attempt to get an interview. She says, “Ready or not, here I come,” before entering the room. She finds Terrance Taylor and asks him about the situation with Dustin Rhodes. Taylor says he doesn’t know what Missy is doing in there, but he answers her question. He tells her that things aren’t over with Dustin. Missy then hears a noise from the shower and asks if it’s Z-Man. However, she spots the cowboy hat and says she hopes it’s not who she thinks it is. You can briefly see someone poke their head around the corner, while Taylor tells her to take a look. Missy turns towards the shower, but Stan Hansen emerges in his boxer shorts. He makes sure to put on his cowboy hat before yelling at her to leave. She whines that she just wanted an interview, so Stan grabs her and spanks her with his hat until she leaves the room. She then cries to the cameraman, “Get out of here! Go back to them!”

Taped Fist Match: Barry Windham vs. Flyin’ Brian

Brian Pillman’s problems with the Horsemen continue. His inclusion in the War Games Match was because of his feud with Windham and it certainly didn’t end there. You would almost expect him also to get revenge on Sid, but Sid is about to leave WCW, so a continued feud with Windham makes sense.

Brian makes his way to the ring and he gets Kane-like pyro in his entrance. Ross calls him one of the most courageous athletes he’s ever known and says that Pillman wants revenge for his injuries. Windham then makes his entrance and Ross calls him the master of the superplex. He also calls him a technically perfect wrestler. I’m sure Mr. Perfect’s ears were burning somewhere.

The two men start shoving each other and trade shoulder blocks. Pillman then hits a hip toss and shoulder tackle before punching Barry with his taped fist. Brian follows this up by chopping Barry into the corner and Windham yells at the ref about the rules, but Ross points out there are no rules in this match. Barry returns fire with punches to Pillman’s ribs and then slams him before heading to the top rope. However, Brian dropkicks Barry and sends him all the way to the floor. Brian follows and attacks, but Windham sends him into the post, where Brian visibly blades. Barry then pulls him into the ring and we see that both men are bleeding already. Then, Barry takes Brian to the ramp and leaps off to ram Brian into the guardrail, which gets a good reaction from the crowd. He punches Pillman back into the ring, but Brian answers with a spinning wheel kick and some chops until Windham rakes the eyes. Windham continues with a hotshot, but both men end up trading chops. Windham then tries a back suplex, but that’s followed by both men colliding with each other. Barry is up first, but Brian reverses a suplex and goes to the top rope. The ref gets in the way, so Windham shoves him and then low-blows Pillman before hitting a superplex for the win.

This was a fun and bloody brawl, but I wish it had gone longer. It felt like this might have got cut short due to time constraints. That annoys me because this show didn’t need half the filler matches that came before this.

Winner: Barry Windham (6:08)

Next, Diamond Dallas Page hosts an episode of The Diamond Mine. He doesn’t know his headset is active again, so he tells people to shut up and asks if he’s on the air. DDP then says that all the five-and-dimers are envious of him before gloating about the Freebirds’ win. He also says he has money he hasn’t folded yet and now, he’s got the Diamond Mine. Then, he talks about the World Tag Team Title Match between the Steiners and Sting & Luger. He says he has Sting & Luger on his show, but not live. Instead, he introduces some pre-taped words from them. Luger says that the ingredients are there and it’s just a short time away before they’re up against the measuring stick, the Steiners. Sting then says they will walk into god knows what and all four men are nervous, but he and Luger are very ready. The video ends, so DDP tells them good luck because they’ll need it. He then claims they weren’t brilliant enough stars to bring them out live, but his newest addition is. DDP introduces a man he calls twisted steel and sex appeal. He’s 6’7” and 293 pounds and he’s named the Diamond Studd. Scott Hall emerges with some Diamond Dolls on his arm. He looks like he’s halfway through his transformation into Razor Ramon. He has the greasy black hair and the toothpick, but the gimmick is different. DDP says they’re going from town to town and then he has the Studd pose while the dolls take off his gear. Then, DDP asks the dolls why things are going to be fine and wine and the dolls reply, “Because he’s Diamond Dallas Page!” Dallas then ends the segment by adding, “And you’re not!” This segment was kind of long and awkward. Even Ross feels the same because he says, “Well, that was—some debut.”

Stretcher Match: El Gigante vs. Sid Vicious

Sid gave his notice to WCW that he was leaving for the WWF, so they wanted him to job on his way out the door. Who did WCW decide to give the rub to with this win? Why, El Gigante, of course. WCW was still determined to make him into a star, but the thought of Gigante vs. Sid is horrifying and not in a good way. This is a stretcher match, which means you’re supposed to render your opponent unconscious enough to roll them out on a stretcher. We shall see how well they stick to that stipulation. This is WCW, after all.

Sid enters first to a great reaction. This crowd has been cheering heels all night, but Sid was always pretty over with WCW fans. Gigante enters next and tries to drag the stretcher down the ramp. He has trouble, so he simply carries it instead. He enters the ring and the two men get in each other’s face. I think it might be more accurate to say they stand in front of each other because Sid’s face only reaches Gigante’s chest. That’s insane when you realize how tall Sid is.

Sid immediately tries a shoulder block, but he can’t knock down Gigante. They lock-up instead and Gigante shoves him a few times. Sid then calls for a test of strength, but when Gigante raises his hand, Sid kicks him. Gigante answers with a clothesline, so Sid rolls out of the ring. He soon returns and they fight into the corner, but Sid kicks low and goes after Gigante’s legs. Sid also shoulders him into the corner and charges, but Gigante raises his boot. Gigante then locks on the Iron Claw and the ref counts Sid’s shoulders on the mat for a 3 count.

Wait—what? That’s it? The stretcher didn’t even factor into the match. They didn’t even attempt to stick to the stipulation. Why make this a Stretcher Match? This was awful, but at least it was short.

Winner: El Gigante (2:13)

After the match, Kevin Sullivan and the One Man Gang attack Gigante. (Sullivan and Gang had formed a team when Gang returned to WCW. On a funny side note, Sullivan apparently did a ceremony where he banished the spirit of Akeem to the underworld, thus ending that gimmick forever.) Gigante fights off both men and slams Gang onto the stretcher, so at least it got used in some way. Sullivan then throws powder into Gigante’s eyes, so Gang attacks Gigante with the stretcher and runs away. Gigante starts yelling at them, while the fans start singing the “Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye” song to Sid. How did they know he was leaving in 1991? There was no internet then.

Thunder Doom Cage Match: Ron Simmons vs. Butch Reed (w/ Teddy Long)

It appears they edited out an intermission because the cage is already constructed when they cut to this match. Ross says that Teddy Long will be suspended in a small cage above the ring. He also calls this a Thunder Doom Cage Match, but sadly they don’t use the Thunderdome Cage. It’s a regular chain-link cage. Reed enters first and it looks like he couldn’t care less. He too had given his notice to WCW because he apparently wanted to join the rodeo circuit. Long enters behind him and officials waste no time in pushing him into the cage and lifting it. Teddy yells at them, but it falls on deaf ears. Simmons enters next and the Doom music continues playing. I guess they haven’t had enough time to give him his own theme.

They immediately trade punches until Simmons hits an atomic drop and a clothesline. He then whips Reed into the cage, but he crashes on a missed shoulder block. The two of them fight back and forth until Ron is already bleeding, so Butch bites at the cut and rakes his boots across it. Reed even hits a flying axehandle and some fist drops. Simmons tries fighting back, but Reed pulls him into the cage wall and hotshots him. Then, he starts ramming Ron’s head into the mat and hits a piledriver, but he only gets a 2 count. He follows it up by choking Ron on the ropes and sending him into the cage wall with a snake eyes. He also wears him down with a chinlock and lightly drapes his foot on the ropes for leverage. I see that Reed still isn’t good at that spot. Simmons manages to elbow out of the hold, but he mistakenly ducks for a back drop and Reed hits a swinging neckbreaker. Reed then hits his flying shoulder tackle off the top, but Simmons gets a foot on the ropes. Simmons finally fights back when he gets his knees up on a splash by Reed and hits a back drop. However, Butch answers with a high-knee. Then, both men go down to a double clothesline, so Long tosses a chain into the ring. Reed grabs it and goes for a punch, but Ron ducks and hits a spinebuster for the win.

This was a pretty decent brawl, but it ground to a snail’s pace when Reed was in control. I don’t think it ever found a great rhythm. There were some good moments and I didn’t dislike it, but it wasn’t great.

Winner: Ron Simmons (9:39)

Next, they show a video package for both teams in the World Tag Team Title Match. They play some cheesy 90s synthesizer music over clips of both teams celebrating wins and waving American flags. They follow that with clips of each man hitting their finisher and even clips of the Sting vs. The Black Scorpion match. I figured they’d want to forget that. Then, the music changes to a rip-off of the Rocky music before going back to the cheesy ballad. The video ends on a shot of both teams face-to-face.

World Tag Team Title Match: The Steiner Brothers (c) vs. Sting & Lex Luger

Sting & Luger enter first and they show a lady in the crowd holding her Galoob WCW action figures. It’s not a kid and I don’t even see a child with her. It’s a grown woman. The pyro goes off early, so Luger has to shield his face as they walk past it. Lex is wearing the new U.S. Title belt. This was always my favorite design of the title. Sadly, it seems to be the only belt that WCW has updated, so far. The Steiners enter next and Ross calls them the most decorated tag team in WCW history. I feel like that was a slight shot at the Road Warriors for leaving the company.

Luger and Rick start the match. Luger hits an arm drag, but Rick fires back with a single-leg takedown. The two men then grapple on the mat and reverse through some holds, which is surprising for Luger. Rick then attempts a shoulder block, but Luger overpowers him and hits a powerslam. Then, Luger tries to charge him, but Rick moves and hits a release German suplex. He follows it with a Steinerline and gets a 2 count. He continues by back dropping Luger, but Lex hits a hard clothesline and a press slam before tagging Sting. He enters and clotheslines Rick out of the ring and then hits a running dive to the outside. The crowd go crazy for the sequence, as Sting rolls Rick inside and hits a facebuster. However, Rick pops back to his feet immediately. Sting responds by lifting Rick onto his shoulder and ramming him into the corner, as the Steiners usually do. Sting tries to capitalize, but he misses a Stinger Splash and Rick tags Scott. He hits a Tiger Driver and a tilt-a-whirl slam before dropping a loud f-bomb in true Scott Steiner fashion. Sting answers back with a hotshot and then tags Luger, but Lex simply hits a suplex before tagging out again. Scott catches Sting with an inverted atomic drop and then places him on the top turnbuckle for a release belly-to-belly suplex. He then goes for another top rope move, but Sting ducks and Scott lands on the announce table. Lex enters the match and suplexes Scott inside. They fight back and forth and Luger hits a powerslam before signaling for the rack. He goes for it, but he has to aid Scott in doing a reversal. It appeared Scott was knocked loopy at some point. Rick then makes a blind tag and hits a diving bulldog, so Sting answers with a missile dropkick and tries to convince the ref he tagged Luger. Sting and Scott do eventually tag in and reverse through a Tombstone attempt. Sting wins the exchange, but Rick breaks up the pin. Luger attacks and brawls to the floor with Rick, while Sting hits a Stinger Splash. However, Nikita Koloff skulks to the ring. He tries to attack Luger from behind, but Sting spots him. Sting pushes Luger out of the way, so Koloff hits Sting by mistake and Scott covers him for the win.

This was a great match. It had good intensity and great crowd heat. Everyone in this match was motivated. Scott might have been a little too motivated, but it was entertaining. I even like the finish because it plays nicely into the ongoing storyline.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers (11:09)

Tony is backstage and he stops Koloff for a word. He asks Nikita for an explanation, so Koloff says that Sting was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, Sting attacks Nikita from behind. They brawl through the back and out the door into the parking lot. Nikita grabs a chair, but Sting wrestles it away from him, so Koloff runs. It feels like they’re setting up the backup feud for Koloff. Perhaps WCW already knew that they needed to prepare for plans changing.

TV Title Match: Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. Arn Anderson (c)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the TV Title on PPV. I had almost forgotten about it. Has Arn Anderson held it this entire time? I swore he was the champ the last time we saw the belt on PPV.

Eaton enters first and they’ve thankfully dropped the fake Bobby chants. They don’t need them because the fans are genuinely reacting well to his entrance. Ross talks about how this is Eaton’s first attempt at a single’s title. I’m pretty sure Bobby fought for this exact belt at Bunkhouse Stampede ‘88. I guess Ross forgot about that. Arn enters next and he drags his thumb across his throat while Cappetta introduces him. The cameraman then finds some pro-Bobby and anti-Arn signs in the crowd while a real Bobby chant begins.

The two men cycle through some holds until Bobby punches the taste out of Arn’s mouth. Arn fires back, but Eaton reverses a whip. Arn then leaps over Bobby, but he makes the mistake of gloating and Eaton knees him. He follows up by going after Arn’s arm, but Anderson sends him to the apron and rams him into the turnbuckles. Eaton attempts to go to the top rope, but Arn then slams him onto the ramp. He tries to follow up with a piledriver, but Eaton back drops him and then does another one into the ring. Eaton continues with a flying axehandle and goes after the arm again. Arn finally takes over when he goes after Eaton’s leg and rams it into the post. He then wears him down with a step-over toe hold and uses the ropes for leverage. Eaton manages to turn the tides when Arn goes for the hold again and Bobby shoves him into the corner. He then rams Arn’s head into all three turnbuckles. They fight back and forth, but Eaton’s leg gives out and Arn grabs a leglock. Eaton keeps attempting a comeback, but the leg is a problem. Anderson eventually hits his spinebuster, but he surprisingly only gets a 2 count. Bobby finally regains control when Arn attempts a flying axehandle and Eaton punches him. He then hits a swinging neckbreaker and goes for the Alabama Jam, but Windham arrives to interfere. Brian Pillman stops him just in time, so Eaton hits the Jam for the win.

This was pretty good, but there were times when it dragged a little. However, I do like the psychology of the match and the action was good. I also liked the finish. The fans seem to be accepting Eaton as a babyface. If only they knew what was coming.

Winner: Bobby Eaton (New Champion) (11:50)

Tony is outside Fujinami’s locker room. He talks about the controversy in Tokyo and says that Flair came back to the U.S. with the World Title. Then, he questions whether Flair is the World Champion or will Fujinami bring the belt back to Japan. Tatsumi and his crew leave the room, but Tony stops Hiro Matsuda for a word. Hiro claims that Fujinami will take back what belongs to them.

WCW/NWA World Title Match: Ric Flair vs. Tatsumi Fujinami

Fujinami enters first and he’s led to the ring by Japanese women who spread flower petals on the ramp. Tatsumi pauses to show off his robe before heading to the ring. Cappetta introduces him, but the cameraman is more interested in Flair’s entourage setting up in the entryway. I guess someone tells him to pay attention because he turns to the ring before the introduction is finished. Flair enters next and he’s flanked by his maid and butlers. I can’t tell if that’s Fifi or not, but I don’t think she debuts until 1993. Flair places his Rolex watch on the maid’s tray and then walks to the ring, but his song isn’t the 2001 theme. It’s weird. Did they cue up the wrong music? Ross then talks about the referees for the match. Japanese ref, Tiger Hattori, will be in the ring and WCW ref, Bill Alfonso (Fonzie) will be on the outside. I sense some shenanigans.

The two men shake hands and then work through some holds. They trade off drop toe holds before fighting into the corner. Flair doesn’t make the clean break. He hits chops and forearms, but Fujinami fires back with his own. He then takes Flair down and locks him in a bow and arrow stretch while Ross and Dusty talk about Flair’s back problems. They reverse through some more holds until Fujinami locks Ric in a Boston Crab and then turns it into an Indian Deathlock. Dusty says, “This takes that spine right here below your butt-kis and jars that all the way up to your neck-us!” Flair breaks free and they fight back and forth and to the apron, but Fujinami suplexes him back inside. Then, they fight to the floor and Flair crotches Tatsumi on the guardrail, so both refs warn him. Flair takes him back inside and attacks the leg before locking him in a Figure Four. He starts slapping Fujinami, but that wakes him up and Tatsumi reverses the hold. Flair breaks it, but Fujinami soon locks him in a Scorpion Deathlock. Ric makes it to the ropes and the two of them eventually fight to the floor. Fujinami posts Flair until he’s bleeding and sends him back inside. Flair attempts a couple of comebacks, but he loses his grip on an Oklahoma Roll. He starts selling his fatigue to cover for the botch. Soon, Fujinami locks Flair in an Octopus Stretch, which Dusty says makes you not know whether to give up or go blind. Ric breaks free, but he flops to the mat in exhaustion. The two men collide and Flair falls to the ramp. He then stumbles into the ring and Fujinami gets a couple of very close 2 counts. However, Ric fires back with chops until Tatsumi tries an O’Connor Roll. Flair shoves him, which sends Fujinami crashing into Hattori. Ric then quickly rolls him up, so Alfonso enters the ring and counts the 3 while Ric pulls the tights.

This was a really good match, but sadly the crowd wasn’t that into it. I guess an American audience aren’t familiar enough with Fujinami. The match still had enough good storytelling to make up for the lack of heat. The ending seemed to almost set-up a rematch, but circumstances will prevent that from happening. Not long after this show, Flair would finally have enough of Jim Herd. The two could not agree over Ric’s future, so Herd fired him. However, WCW didn’t give back Flair’s deposit on the belt. He decided that made it his property, so he took it with him. You will soon see where that leads, but I won’t spoil anything for those who don’t know.

Winner: Ric Flair (18:39)

Ross and Dusty talk about the match and Ross asks for the cameraman to get a shot of Fujinami’s chest. It’s beaten red from all the chops and looks nasty. Ross also recaps the night and Dusty says he’s never seen a match like the Steiners vs. Sting & Luger. Then, Dusty talks about the other tag title match and says he wants to know the identity of Fantasia. Finally, they recap the main event and Ross says that Flair has some great challenges ahead of him. He’s right, but it won’t be in WCW. Ross then thanks everyone and plugs The Great American Bash before saying goodnight.

The Good:

– The Steiners vs. Sting & Luger was great.

– The main event was pretty good.

– The second half of the show pretty much saved this PPV.

The Bad:

– Oz! Need I say more?

– Too many filler matches.

– Too much nonsense in the first half of the show.

Performer of the Night:

The Steiner Brothers. They were both on fire and put on an amazing match. You could tell that Scott was at his most motivated, to the point that he wasn’t being mindful of his language. That’s how you always know when Scott is in his zone.

Final thoughts:

This show was a tale of two halves. The first half of the show was awful, but the second half was really good. This era of WCW is known for having good action that’s nearly ruined by silly nonsense. You can tell that it’s a constant struggle between what the bookers want and what Jim Herd wants.

READER CHALLENGE

A few days ago, on the Facebook page, I gave you guys a reader challenge. At this show, WCW gave Kevin Nash the Oz gimmick, so I asked you guys to give me some other movie/book based gimmicks and who would portray them. Here are a few of the answers.

Charlie Elms Jr. said John Cena could play Ernest P. Worrell. I could honestly see this. Cena has acted in kids movies before. I can even picture him saying, “Verne! You can’t see me, Verne! Know what I mean?”

Austin Dix suggested Kevin Sullivan as the Lorax. That is quite fitting and I can even picture it in my head. Although, I think he would have played it a bit darker than Danny DeVito.

RJ Johnson suggested Hulk Hogan could play Santa Claus. Don’t give them any ideas! Besides, I don’t think a Santa with muscles would work. Oh—wait.

Thanks for reading, everyone! You can follow the Facebook page here and the Twitter page here. I look forward to your feedback!

My next review will be another shot of WCW and it’s a doozy. I’ll be covering The Great American Bash ‘91.

 

Written by Paul Matthews

I am chronologically reviewing all the pre-network era WWF/WCW/ECW PPVs from Starrcade '83 to WrestleMania 30. Join me on this journey every Saturday!
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