Context around Fall Brawl:
- The Clash scored the highest rating for any cable wrestling show in almost two years.
- Mean Gene Okerlund is expected to sign a WCW contract imminently. The deal is apparently for $250,000 a year, which is crazy cash considering the company isn’t making money.
- An outside promotional company offered WCW a $50,000 payment to have WCW run a house show at the AlamoDome. The company ending up canceling the event when only 400 tickets were sold in the 65,000-seat arena.
- Barry Windham is now dating Pam Seals, who was Burt Reynolds’ mistress that helped lead to his infamous divorce from Loni Anderson and cost him millions of dollars.
- Steve Keirn is rumored to be coming in with his “Skinner” gimmick. (Thankfully only half of that turns out to be true.)
- After four months of the title being vacant, Dustin Rhodes finally beat Rick Rude to claim the US gold. Ric Flair interfered in the end to help build to the Flair/Rude NWA title match.
- They have already given up on the Shockmaster and have switched his gimmick to klutzy Uncle Fred.
- World Champ Vader is having issues with WCW officials as he is also working dates for Japan’s UWFI as their top heel. WCW had been ok with this until the UWFI announced plans to try and run PPVs in the US. Vader was offered a near $700,000 a year contract from WCW but has yet to sign it.
- The NWA title will officially become the WCW International title as the NWA has pulled the rights to the title back. The NWA is just a handful of indy promoters right now including Jim Cornette (SMW), Todd Gordon (ECW) and soon to be Jim Crockett, who is going to head his own promotion starting in November when his 5-year non compete contract with Turner runs out. The promoters are gearing towards making Terry Funk, Ted Dibiase or Road Warrior Hawk the touring champ. New Japan stopped paying dues, so they have dropped out of the NWA, which is quite a change from a year ago when they had Masa Chono and Muta as NWA champions and NWA President Seiji Sakaguchi was a New Japan legend.
- Sid Vicious skipped two straight drug tests and was facing suspension or possibly being fired, so he briefly quit. WCW officials managed to work things out. Sid was scheduled to headline the PPVs for the foreseeable future and is all over the TV already taped, so losing him would have been a disaster.
- To try and explain away the terrible amnesia skits, Cactus Jack cut a promo explaining that the skits were all fake and he was just playing mind games with Vader and Harley Race.
- A planned show at Texas Stadium was canceled after THIRTY-FIVE tickets were sold.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura talk up WAR GAMES, then throws it to Eric Bischoff, who mentions the title matches and off we go.
TV Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Lord Steven Regal
There’s tons of empty seats visible. Schiavone claims that thousands of people have been turned away and the fans are still making their way in. (Spoiler alert: He’s lying) Steamboat has damaged ribs from an earlier attack by Regal. The Dragon is hurt and angry, so he takes the fight right to Regal and blasts him with chops. Regal is whipped over the top rope and crashes into the ramp. The Dragon then connects with a flying chop – but hurts his ribs on the landing. Regal starts to take shots at the ribs but the adrenaline is pumping and Ricky battles on through the pain.
Things go to the mat as Steamboat wrenches on Regal’s limbs while selling his rib pain. Steamboat uses his legs to take his Lordship down into a armlock in a nifty transition. The Dragon continues to maintain control, seemingly only his injured ribs keeping him from securing victory. Finally Regal gets a backdrop that hurts the ribs of Ricky and that allows Regal to take some more shots to the side of Steamboat. Steamboat slips out of a chinlock which he transitions into an electric chair drop. A foolish follow up sees Steamboat try a splash and he hurts his rib cage again. Regal ties The Dragon in knots as he tries to finish the wounded warrior.
Ventura drives me nuts by calling Steamboat old. Way to put the talent over. He did the same thing with Flair at the last PPV. Steamboat weathers the torture session put on by Regal as he locks on holds focusing on different parts of his anatomy. Steamboat tries a series of desperation cradles to try and seal the win. Finally he goes for it all and tries his flying body press, but that sends shockwaves of pain to Ricky’s ribs and he can’t get the pin. Regal tries to send Steamboat over the top rope but The Dragon skins the cat back in, but before he can make it the whole way Sir William cracks him with an umbrella in his head. Regal scoops up the dazed Steamboat and delivers a bridging German suplex for the win and the title!
That was one heck of match that did everything right. Regal got more credibility by hanging with a legend for almost twenty minutes, Steamboat fought valiantly through unspeakable pain to try and keep his title secure, and Regal got to look like a cheating bastard by having to resort to having his manager use a weapon to take down a wounded man. All in all this was some excellent pro wrestling.
The Nasty Boyz are promising a secret surprise for the Horseman tonight.
Charlie Norris vs. Big Sky
Big Sky looks almost exactly like Chris Jericho, only almost a foot taller. Norris looks like a jobber. Big Sky has bitch tits. The crowd shits on this right away as Norris uses a long armbar. Well, Norris would be getting cheered if his name was “Boring” because that’s what the crowd is chanting. Sky hits some basic stuff for a brief bit before Norris can start doing a war dance and chop his way back into the fight. Norris hits a boot to the face and that earns him the win. Totally under whelming.
WCW’s special needs announcer Scott Dunlap interviews The British Bulldog.
2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. The Equalizer and Paul Orndorff
Bagwell wiggles his groin at the Equalizer and gets pounded on for it. The faces double team the big man and send him packing to the floor. Orndorff eats up Scorpio when they try a one on one fair fight. Bagwell comes in and is chucked to the floor, then slammed on the concrete by the Equalizer. Ventura makes a crack about Bagwell calling his mom. If only he knew what was yet to come. The heels dominate for several minutes with some rest holds. The crowd is enjoying harassing Mr. Wonderful with “Paula” chants.
Scorpio finally tags in and explodes on both heels with dropkicks. All four men end up in the ring as things break down. The heels collide on a miscommunication and Scorpio hits the 450 splash on the Equalizer for the pin. The heels beat down our heroes after the match to get their heat back. This match was paint by numbers tag team wrestling. Bland but inoffensive.
Ice Train vs. Shanghai Pierce
Train uses his muscles to outclass the future hog farmer. The heels try and use a bull rope to clothesline Train but he runs right through it. Pierce is then powerslammed for the win. Nothing to see here.
World Tag Champs Arn Anderson and Paul Roma vs. The Nasty Boyz
Missy Hyatt comes down with the Nasty Boyz as their surprise new manager. Ventura blatantly talks about her large chest. Micheal Buffer lies and says “Paul Roma is becoming one of the most popular stars in all of wrestling” during his intro. Knobbs roughhouses Roma, but Roma takes he and Saggs out with slams and the heels start stalling. The faces control Saggs once things begin properly again. They work over Saggs’ leg. Paul Roma uses rest holds. I check my email. Of all the matches to give over twenty minutes to…
Knobbs tags in and the Horsemen work over his leg too. Exciting leglocks eat up at least five minutes of match time. Knobbs takes over and uses a chinlock to up the workrate. Saggs tags in and…locks on a chinlock. Ugh. Anderson takes a long beating from the heels as I dread the next three years of Nasty Boyz matches I’ll have to endure. More rest holds as I comprehend that the Hollywood Blonds were broken up leaving The Nasty Boyz with a long run as the top WCW tag team. Bear hugs, abdominal stretches, and headlocks eat up more clock. Schiavone notes the crowd is dead.
Roma finally tags in and tries to fight off both men. Anderson spinebusters Knobbs and Roma hits a swan dive. No pin as the ref is tied up with getting Anderson out of the ring. This allows Saggs to hit a diving elbow on Roma and that rocks him bad enough to allow the Boyz the pin and the titles. Horrible match.
We recap Cactus Jack living with the homeless after being given a serious concussion via a Vader powerbomb. Jack tries to save the angle by explaining it was all fake and promises to injure Vader in honor of all the men Vader has maimed.
Cactus Jack vs. Yoshi Kwan
Jack attacks Harley Race before the match can even begin. Kwan is clotheslined quickly to the floor, but Jack focuses too much on Race and Kwan gets the jump on him. Kwan uses martial arts blows to rock Jack. Kwan and Race collide accidentally and Jack hits a DDT for the quick win. Race is suplexed in the ring afterward. This was just a glorified squash.
“World Champ” Ric Flair vs. Rick Rude
Rude tries a flying knee drop way too early and misses. Flair locks on the figure-four but Rude quickly makes it to the ropes. Flair works over Rude’s arm while Ventura says sexist things about Fifi until his mic is cut off. Flair works a wristlock for a long while the crowd goes for popcorn. Rude takes over with some power moves and tries to wear him down with a chinlock. Rude stops to pose, then returns to the chinlock. Flair is dropped throat first on the top rope and dumped to the floor. Rude works a bear hug that goes on too long. Flair punches his way out but ends up running into a stun gun.
Flair finally makes his final push and starts to chop away on Rude and delivers a few suplex variations. Rude cuts off his comeback and tries to finish him with the Rude Awakening. Flair bites his hand to block it. Flair hits a neckbreaker of his own for a nearfall. Rude tries a sleeper but Flair turns it into a knee breaker. Flair works over Rude’s leg and teases a figure-four. Things spill out to the floor and Flair dumps Rude on his throat over the railing. Flair struts instead of going for the kill and that allows Rude to make a comeback. Flair is caught trying a flying attack and Rude delivers a fist from the top rope. With Flair out of the picture, Rude sexually harasses Fifi. That gets Flair riled up and he pounds Rude to the mat and locks on a figure-four. The ref then talks to Fifi instead of focusing on the match at hand, which allows Rude to take out brass knux and KO Flair to win the “World title”. Shockingly dull match. Rude continues to his streak of boring/bad matches since his return from injury. There’s a serious difference between using holds for psychology and putting on maneuvers to eat up time.
WARGAMES: Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes and THE SHOCKMASTER vs. Vader, Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat
Road Warrior Animal is with the faces for leadership. Vader starts off for the heels. An “injured” Dustin Rhodes (bad ribs from an attack from the heels yesterday) sneaks in the cage while the rest of the faces were prepping the Shockmaster to enter. Vader goes right for the ribs. Rhodes fends him off by taking off his boot and using it as a weapon. Vader batters Rhodes with fists and squashes him with a Vaderbomb. Rhodes fights back even after that and beats Vader down with fists and his stray boot. Stevie Ray is in next as the heels win the coin toss. Ray uses the boot to drop Rhodes. The heels double up on Rhodes and hurt him enough that Sting faces a two on one situation when he enters next. Ray is flung into the steel and Vader is Stinger splashed and driven into the cage as well.
Rhodes is bleeding. Vicious is in next and he quickly blitzes Sting, tosses him into Vader and chokeslams him. All three heels gang up on Sting before Smith comes in next. Sid tries to cut him off but Smith levels him and slams Vader. The heels regain control and add Booker T to the mix as well. Harlem Heat double-team Sting before they collide accidentally. Shockmaster runs in last and gets a piece of everyone before pounding the exhausted Vader down to the mat. He then locks a bear hug on T for an anticlimactic submission finish. This match was actually more entertaining than I anticipated given that half the talent involved in the match aren’t known for their in ring mastery.
Final thoughts: For the second straight event, Ricky Steamboat stole the show. Much of the rest of the card saw either short matches to put over new talent or LONG matches with guys who were seemingly unmotivated. The main event was the worst War Games to date, but was well paced and “fun” to watch, if nothing else. Halloween Havoc is up next with Vader vs. Cactus Jack and Sting vs. Sid headlining.