A Look at WCW Fall Brawl ’96

The events surrounding WCW Fall Brawl ’96 include:

  • Ted Dibiase debuted for WCW as the nWo’s money backer.  The Giant also turned on WCW and went to the nWo after the original plan to sign Davey Boy Smith fell through. The nWo Sting showed up six days prior to this PPV in order to create dissension among Sting, Lex Luger and the Horsemen who were to team against the nWo in War Games.
  • Both Bret Hart and Smith signed with the WWF despite WCW offering them more money for less dates.
  • Juventud Guerrera and Super Calo also debuted. They had Juvi lose 3 times in his first 4 matches taped for TV. Now we know where the current WWF creative team get their ideas from.
  • Kevin Sullivan, Arn Anderson, Jimmy Hart and others are in charge of putting together TV scripts and storylines but they continue to be thwarted by Hulk Hogan changing plans at the last minute.
  • Ric Flair and the Horsemen are furious over Hogan altering a segment in order to have the Horsemen beat down by the nWo despite the invaders being outnumbered. Flair’s contract is up soon and he’s raising a stink about leaving.
  • There are talks of giving Hall and Nash a pair of nWo tag team titles to “defend”.
  • The nWo wrecked the Nitro announcers set without being scripted or cleared to do so first. The set cost WCW 40 grand to fix.
  • Glacier finally debuted after months of hype. They are debating having him work under blue lights to gain super powers, with the power vanishing if the regular lights are on. Future WCW jabroni Jerry Flynn got a try out to be part of the ninjas who are to feud with Glacier.
  • Steve Regal beat Lex Luger for the WCW TV title after Hall and Nash attacked Luger.

  • Konnan went heel and joined the Dungeon of Doom.
  • Dusty Rhodes wants to be given a role as WCW’s “coach” to bring the brand together against the nWo.
  • Roddy Piper appeared at a WWF house show. This is only notable since he’s going to end up in WCW in less than six weeks yet his WWF ties are obviously still strong.
  • Despite not being used, Bam Bam Bigelow is still under WWF contract. WCW had contacted him to possibly come in, perhaps to join the nWo.
  • The WWF began the angle where Jim Ross is promising that Razor Ramon and Diesel are returning to the WWF. Vince McMahon started the storyline only one day after coming up with the idea. Much of the WWF staff was unaware of the plans and were confused when JR started talking about it during a special Friday edition of RAW.
  • Speaking of which, the Friday RAW bombed in the ratings and helped quell talks of moving the show to Fridays to help escape the Nitro juggernaut.

Fall Brawl ’96 
We open with clips of all the carnage the nWo has caused over the past four months. Dusty Rhodes, The Brain and Tony Schiavone cry over Sting turning on WCW the previous Monday. Despite Sting’s apparent betrayal, WCW hasn’t bothered to replace him on their War Games team. Plus the nWo hasn’t revealed the fourth man on their team, so WCW is set up to fail.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. “Diamond” Dallas Page 
Chavo gets off to a hot start, using his speed and agility to send DDP to the floor. Jr whips him with a belt and tosses him into the railing. Chavo then ends his fiery hate filled attack to work a long armbar. Page takes control with stomps and rest holds. Things slow to a crawl for the middle portion of the bout as Page toys with the youngster. Chavo starts to rev up for a comeback but Page delivers a few throws to slow his momentum. A powerbomb seems to send Chavo crashing shoulder first into the mat. Ouch. A Diamond Cutter ends the boredom at 13:07. Not much meat on this bone. The match was too long for these participants.

They run another nWo video package. This wasn’t needed after people already bought the PPV.

Submission rules – Ice Train vs. Scott Norton 
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Ice Train does a Gracie Train with Teddy Long on the way to the ring. They lumber about throwing blows at one another at a relaxed speed. Train splashes Norton a few times but Norton is able to plow Train to the mat and lock on an armlock. They milk that hold for “drama” but that would involve the fans giving a shit. Train cranks on his own elbow lock but Norton works his way out. Norton follows with a Boston Crab and two different armlocks. Teddy Long distracts Norton and this allows Train to tie Norton in a full nelson and he surprisingly taps at 7:17. A tortoise and a snail could have a footrace in molasses and move faster than these two.

Fake Mexican champ Konnan vs. Juventud Guerrera 
Guerrera starts off with a bang by tripping on the steps during his entrance.

Someone must have told Juvi this was “fall” Brawl. Juvi is tossed violently on his back off of a suplex. Juvi is then sent flying wildly over the ropes and to the floor. The Juice then bounces off two sets of ropes and launches into his larger opponent. Guerrera then attempts a hurricanrana on the floor and ends up being powerbombed on the mats. Juvi tries again back inside between the rings and that causes an awkward bump. Konnan chucks the challenger across the ring and ties him in knots. Juvi ends up splatting off of a failed moonsault and Konnan powerbombs him again.

They try to set up another spot on the apron and Konnan seems to not want to take whatever Juvi called and he blocks it, leading to Guerrera taking what looked a nasty bump but a different camera angle reveals he landed on his feet on the ringside mats. They do another goofy spot a minute later where Juvi catches Konnan on the top turnbuckle, then climbs up for what looks looks like a hurricanrana attempt but instead he just poses and flip himself backwards off the ropes. Konnan catches him with another nasty back suplex which sets up a several more contrived spots.

Juvi downs Konnan and hits a 450 splash, then climbs back up and hits a modified moonsault, neither of which snag the pin. Konnan responds with a package suplex and another powerbomb. A top rope powerbomb finally stops Juvi at 13:45. This was very watchable as a spotfest but the transitions could have certainly been smoother.

Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit
The crowd gives Benoit a nice reaction as they are in Horsemen country. The announcers put over the fact that the two men have met in Japan as they get in one another’s face and strikes are traded. Benoit takes control quickly with some crisp suplexes, a spinebuster, and a Liontamer. The crowd eats this up. Jericho escapes a powerbomb but Benoit keeps up the onslaught. Jericho gets a unique take down using his legs to snag Benoit from behind and whipping him to the mat. The Crippler is sent to the floor and Jericho greets him there with a plancha. Jericho tries to get the crowd to pop for him but they boo him due to the Horseman connection.

Jericho hits a nice back suplex before the two men stand toe to toe and trade hard chops. Benoit tosses Jericho to over the top in a nasty looking spot. Benoit keeps up the hard hitting tactics and Jericho’s attempts to fight his way out are met with further scorn and torture holds. A diving headbutt rocks both men. Benoit continues to try and beat the life out of the LionHeart but Jericho is toughing it out.

Jericho counters out of a Benoit German suplex and then reverses a Tombstone into one of his own. Jericho doesn’t go for the pin after that and tries an Asai moonsault but Benoit avoids it. Jericho’s comeback is cut off when Benoit trips him up on the top rope and crotches him. Jericho is then back suplexed off the top rope and pinned at 14:36. One heck of a match as Benoit was as smooth and crisp in his execution as ever and Jericho knew how to sell and fight back from the underneath position. A pleasure to see two young lions trying to steal the show.

Rey Mysterio Jr vs. Super Calo

Calo dominates the early going with grappling. Dusty and Heenan have a comedic exchange about Tenay using an interpreter to speak to Calo. The Brain suggests we get one for Dusty’s slang. Calo knocks Rey to the cement floor and then proves he hates his hips as he climbs to the top rope and dropkicks Rey. Rey is then laid out by the ring and Calo leaps over the top rope and delivers a senton on the floor. Calo props Jr. on the top rope and delivers a flying head scissors and sends him crashing to the mat. Calo goes back to locking Rey in submission holds .

Rey mounts a comeback by attempting to flip Calo over the top rope and they blow the spot totally. Ref Randy Anderson tries to save the move by subtly helping Calo balance and flip himself over the ropes. Rey gets a big chance to end the match after nailing a hurricanrana off the ring apron and propelling he and Calo to the floor below. Calo survives that and nails an electric chair drop back in the ring. Rey ends things with a high note by leaping from off one set of ring ropes to the other and then catches Calo in a hurricanrana into a cradle for the win at 15:47. This one certainly had its moments but I feel these two didn’t have enough chemistry to fill out a match of this length. A bunch of the early going felt like we were just eating up time between hitting the highlight reel spots.

The Nasty Boys vs. World tag champions Harlem Heat
These two teams must have wrestled for years and very rarely was it not mind numbingly dull thanks to the sloppy and lazy ring work involved. The teams stall to start and the announcers talk about how they won’t see anything resembling the flashy moves that many of the other bouts tonight featured. So they give this match 15 minutes and it lives up to every expectation: clubberin’, rest holds, clubberin’, stalling. The crowd that shit on some of the mat work in the earlier bouts are loud and boisterous for this one though, ensuring me more rematches that I don’t want to watch. Sherri and Col. Parker run interference for the champs and they retain after using Parker’s cane. Yawn. Officially 15:31 but felt like an hour broadway to me.

Randy Savage vs. The Giant
They already announced Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man for Halloween Havoc, so logic dictates that Savage gets a strong win to heat him up. The Giant runs to the ring but Savage blocks him from entering. The Giant yanks Macho to the floor and crushes him with a splash. He chucks Savage back in the ring and delivers some excellent looking (and sounding) strikes. Savage is trapped in a back breaker as the fans all watch the stands. I thought Sting was making an appearance but apparently it was nothing as everyone just sits down. Giant traps Macho in a Boston crab.

I just realized Nick Patrick is the ref, which begs the question “Why does he keep getting assigned now matches if the belief is he may have been bought off. Answer: Patrick is the head of the powerful Pro Wrestling Referee Union and Syndicate for Employment for the Selectively Blind.

Macho Man mounts a comeback and delivers a double axe handle, a BODYSLAM, and a flying elbow. Hogan shows up and Macho chases after him. Hogan, Hall and Nash beat Savage down in the aisle with a chair. No one from WCW makes the save. Patrick misses all the interference. They toss Macho back in the ring and Giant pins Savage at 7:47. Good monster vs. underdog match before the schmozz finish sort of ended things on an eye rolling note.

Sting interrupts a Luger, Flair and Anderson promo and pleads his innocence on the attack the previous Monday. Luger is having none of it. Flair is coked up and calls for ambulances. Sting is flustered but promises to be there for his team.

WAR GAMES: Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and ______ vs. Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and _____
Scott Hall starts things off with Arn Anderson. Due to the mystery participants, the teams stay in the back until they are called in for battle instead of surrounding the ring like in previous War Games. They have a good back and forth as both men throw big blows at one another. Arn makes Hall taste the cage and starts to work over his leg to disable him. The heels win the coin toss of course and it’s Nash who charges in. Nash actually bumps for Anderson before Hall grabs a hold of him and allows Nash to give him a big boot. Anderson finds his face driven into the unrelenting steel cage. Lex Luger comes down early to save Arn Anderson and he takes the Outsiders to the house of pain. Nash is impressing me by actually selling instead of being his usual lazy self. A cage corner appears to break partially after the heels are tossed into it.

Hogan is in next and the faces are in some serious peril. Ric Flair comes in and dances while staring down the three heels who are standing over Flair’s fallen comrades. Hogan moves in for a one-on-one clash and the Nature Boy owns him. Flair gives Hall and Nash low blows and holds down the fight long enough for Luger and The Enforcer to help him.

A fake Sting comes in next and even though he really doesn’t look facially like him, the announcers are totally sold on this and shit on Sting. The fans don’t buy it for a second and start to chant for the real Sting. The announcers look really silly here.The heels have total control when Steve Borden comes down in the face of a 4 on 1 disadvantage.

The crowd goes bonkers for the real Sting and he takes out all four nWo members by himself. The heels are wiped out by one man and then Sting is like fuck you to his team and leaves. The faces are suddenly impotent and the nWo take total control again. The nWo Sting locks on a Scorpion Death Lock on Luger and Nick Patrick declares the match over at 18:05. The fight continues after the bout as Flair gets some extra shots in before Macho Man runs in an goes after Hogan. This leads to a nWo beatdown to firmly cut WCW’s balls off. Miss Elizabeth runs down to try and beg the nWo to stop beating Savage. Why she cares now after watching the Horsemen do the same thing for months to Macho Man is beyond me. The nWo spray paint Liz and get some massive heat. They spend the last 10 minutes beating on Savage and posing and no one from WCW lifts a finger to save the day.

This was a high energy affair, as most of the War Games have been. The nWo Sting bit was pretty lame since everyone but the announcers figured things out and the whole angle made WCW seem like goofs.

Final thoughts: The whole Liz/Savage finish led to a highly uncomfortable month worth of angles with those two on Nitro and (spoiler alert) since it leads to Macho being humbled and leaving, the whole angle just puts over Hogan as a giant asshole who never loses. Oh well, I’ll tune in next week to watch Halloween Havoc unfold…


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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