WCW SuperBrawl VI
– The Brawl for the Belt!
February 11, 1996
Bayfront Arena – St. Petersburg, Florida
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan & “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
Match 1: Falls Count Anywhere with “Street Fight” Rules
Public Enemy [“Flyboy” Rocco Rock/Johnny Grunge] vs. The Nasty Boys [Brian Knobbs/Jerry Sags]
Result/Analysis: The Nasty Boys via pinfall (7:51) as Knobbs pins Grunge following a missed reverse sommersault off the souvenier stand. I had such low expectations for the match so the quality of this demolition derby exeeceeded those. With Street Fight Rules and the use of the ring as irrelevant with falls counting anywhere, the natural hardcore brawl ensues. There’s some good table spots, Sags with a piledriver to Grunge onto a trash can and plenty of quality steel chair shots to get you to cringe when watching. I’d think all four guys wound up in concussion protocols afterward. WCW brought ECW to SuperBrawl and placing the match in context, as is required, it’s a fun melee.
In the interview area, “Mean” Gene Okerlund shoots off about the WCW Hotline and two former World Wrestling Federation champions that could be on their way to World Championship Wrestling. Talk about some serious foreshadowing … Anyway, the reigning Mexican Heavyweight Champion and newly-crowned WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, Konnan, stops by to chat. Konnan clearly reads his remarks from a teleprompter. He won’t let Mexico or his new fans in the U.S. down by dropping the belt to One Man Gang. Eh. Where’s Chris Benoit? Dean Malenko?
Match 2: WCW World Television Championship
* The winner also earns the managerial services of The Diamond Doll and $6.6 Million*
Johnny B. Badd (c) w/ The Diamond Doll vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Result/Analysis: Badd via pinfall (14:59) after reversing a piledriver into a tombstone piledriver. Succinctly put, this is a very good match. Page was improving by leaps and bounds, truly honing his in-ring craft, while mastering his character schtick. Pure brilliance. Badd, before he left WCW for the WWF shortly after this, I always enjoyed. It seemed he was always in these Television Title bouts in the mid-1990’s and he usually was in one of the better matches on a card. The feud here is long-standing one with Badd first defeating DDP at Halloween Havoc in October 1995 to capture the Television Title, and then again, at World War 3 in November, whereby he won Kimberly in a stipulation. Badd was well-utilized in mid-card feuds in his WCW career and him departing proved later on to be detrimental. DDP was on his way to a great career after starting with zero wrestling background. What he had was a strong work ethic and a want-to. A surprisingly high-quality match.
Harlem Heat is with Okerlund. They assert they’ll leave SuperBrawl tonight again as the World Tag-Team Champions. They correctly point out the thievery that occured in Las Vegas several weeks back when Lex Luger committed grand larceny to win himself and Sting the belts. Okerlund asks about The Road Warriors with Booker scoffing that it’s 1996 not 1976. This team was the shit!
Match 3: WCW World Tag-Team Championship
* The winning tag-team will defend the titles later on at SuperBrawl versus The Road Warriors *
Harlem Heat [Booker T. & Stevie Ray] vs. Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger (c)
Result/Analysis: Sting & Luger via pinfall (11:48) following outside interference by The Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal had made a pledge to face Sting and Luger for the belts later on at SuperBrawl, thus their involvement and Harlem Heat being mere pawns at the chess table here. Sting dominates the action in his two turns in the ring. He and Booker have good exchanges. Who the stars of each team are couldn’t be more obvious. Luger struggles while he’s in and mostly takes a sustained beating. The match breaks down after Sting is refused entry on a blind tag that referee Nick Patrick doesn’t see. Sting lands outside the ring as Booker pulls the ropes down which leaves Luger, as the legal man, inside with Stevie Ray. The Road Warriors then run interference and club Ray with a lead pipe which allows Luger the pin. The idea was the obvious interjection by The Road Warriors and Luger showing himself as the weak link yet still being the member of the team that scores the fall. Their script was followed to a T time-after-time. Afterward, both men deflect the obvious question from Okerlund about The Road Warriors interfering. Well, Luger deflects and Sting just plays blind and stupid. Again, Sting is convinced and he’s on board with Luger. OK match.
Match 4: WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
The One Man Gang vs. Konnan (c)
Result/Analysis: Konnan via pinfall (7:26) following a top rope somersault. The match is downright atrocius and it doesn’t belong on the card. This is the period of time when WCW spoon fed the once prestigious U.S. Title to incoming talent as a bargaining chip of sorts. I mean hell, The One Man Gang was the champion just one week prior to SuperBrawl before Konnan won the belt on The Main Event, the weekly Sunday night broadcast of mid-card talent. How The One Man Gang was employed by a major promotion by 1996 still blows my mind. As for Konnan, his influence in Mexico as its biggest star was paramount to WCW later signing the likes of Rey Mysterio, Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, etc., but he mostly sucked in most of the matches/angles I remember him being in. This match is your cookie-cutter style where the girthy heel plods and beats on his much-smaller opponent at a galatial pace only to still lose by some weak manner. Garbage.
Okerlund again hypes the WCW Hotline and the hot rumor circulating regarding of the two former WWF Champions that could be on their way to WCW. Hey, for once, calling the 1-900 telephone number was legit. Meanwhile, The Road Warriors stop by to NOT apologize to Harlem Heat for costing them the Tag-Team Titles and to put Sting and Luger on notice. Animal and Hawk could still bullseye an interview like no one else. Hawk threatens to deviate septums for the champs. Ouch!
Match 5: “I Respect You” Leather Strap Match
“The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Result/Analysis: Sullivan (:55). “Loose Cannon” Pillman and Sullivan couped up this “worked shoot” angle unbeknownst to ANYONE else in WCW whereby Pillman loses on purpose, saying, “I respect you booka man!” going off the script, as he knew Sullivan was heavily involved in the booking (storyline writing/direction) of the product. Pillman flips off the crowd as he quickly walks off. In a related shoot later on, Pillman orchestrated his own contractual release from WCW but Sullivan wasn’t clued into that part. Sullivan sells this shoot by standing around looking confused, while pretty much breaking character, before Jimmy Hart returns with Arn Anderson dressed in civies. I’d guess there was mad backstage scrambling going on since no one but Pillman or Sullivan knew.
Match 6: “I Respect You” Leather Strap Match
“The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan vs. “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson
Result/Analysis: No Contest. Sullivan and Anderson improvise for several minutes to give on the illusion this was the original plan before Ric Flair comes out (with Jimmy Hart leading him) to squelch tempers by ranting and raving about turning to a united front against Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Flair is clearly working off the cuff as he masterfully pulls the SHIT that was the last five minutes back together. Director: CUT!!! The live crowd is clueless as to what they just watched.
Jimmy Hart is making the rounds quickly as he’s now standing by with The Giant and “Mean” Gene. Hart promises the end of Hulk-A-Mania tonight with Hogan locked inside the steel cage with only one good eye against the 7’4 Giant. The Giant says he’s looked into the souls of the darkest men while he’s been in The Dungeon of Doom and tonight will be a day of reckoning for Hogan as he’s got nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. This sounds all too similar to Andre The Giant and his remarks prior to facing Hogan at WrestleMania III. We all know how that match turned out.
Match 7: WCW World Tag-Team Championship
The Road Warriors [Hawk & Animal] vs. Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger (c)
Result/Analysis: Double Countout (13:56). Luger spends five minutes after the introductions stalling on coming to the ring. It was all downhill from there. The match is F-UGLY and a total cluster you-know-what. The Road Warriors couldn’t much execute more than a powerslam with precision. Luger was playing the part of the scared heel while over-selling even his own offense and the weakest fist-a-cuffs of The L.O.D. Sting tries to piece together an acceptable match, quality-wise, but he was working with a disinterested partner and two broken down has-beens. Had this match taken place say eight years earlier, given the heights of the men around that time, you’d have seen something special. Here, it’s a double countout and no winner. You feel at least somewhat cheated by that.
Flair, with Woman alongside, paints a portrait in his own words for “Mean” Gene of how the evening will go for Savage inside the steel cage. There’ll be blood, sweat, tears, a World Title change and “Space Mountain” with Woman on his right and Elizabeth on his left. Woooo!
A WCW Uncensored promo airs. That’s the next big extravaganza coming up on March 24.
Okerlund is with Elizabeth but Savage comes in hot before she can speak to hype The Mega-Powers as if we were all time warped back to 1988. Savage promises a divide and conquer strategy between himself and Hogan tonight but we should still expect the unexpected. Elizabeth stands in place as the timid valet she used to be. WCW was recycling the WWF’s glory days ad naseum.
We go now to Michael Buffer. “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!”
Match 8: Steel Cage Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair w/ Woman vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage (c) w/ Miss Elizabeth
Result/Analysis: Flair via pinfall (18:56) after hitting Savage with one of Elizabeth’s high heel shoes. Call this the “If the shoe fits match” in the longstanding rivalry between Flair and Savage with Elizabeth once again woven in. WCW did what the WWF never chose to do, and could have four years earlier had they wanted to actually do something juicy, and that’s turn Elizabeth heel on Savage. Forgetting the fact the two had been married and divorced, Elizabeth was brought into WCW to kayfabe work with Savage only for the bait-and-switch happening within mere weeks as Flair wins his 13th World Title here (not counting his two reigns as WWF Champion in 1992). If you can get past Woman repeatedly shrieking “Ric! Ric!!!” every time he’s thrown into the cage or in trouble, and your ears aren’t hurting, this match is pretty good. I personally prefer their WrestleMania VIII match (it’s an all-time classic) and initial feud above anything else but Savage and Flair could wrestle each other and work their magic with their eyes closed or in their sleep, even, and you’d pay whatever price you had to in order to watch them wage war. Savage takes a beating and Flair takes a beating. Savage has Flair in the figure-four and later Flair gets Savage in the figure-four. Flair knocks out the ref, well because, he can it’s a cage match. Flair bleeds (after he blades) to put over the cage abuse he suffers. Savage trunks Flair – – – twice – – – and the pay-per-view audience and all of St. Petersburg see the backside of Space Mountain. Flair tries his usual high risk moves and they backfire as is customary. The Elizabeth heel turn was more the storyline out of SuperBrawl than Flair’s title win. And more on her betrayal would be forthcoming. Hulk Hogan, of course, runs out after the match to chase off Elizabeth, Woman and Flair leaving Arn Anderson to take a chair shot before he escapes, too. As Hogan helps Savage to the back, there’s a legit “Hogan Sucks” chant that breaks out if you listen closely. THAT. Yes that, was a first! Hogan vs. The Giant is next …
But beforehand, The Hulkster stops by to coalesce with “Mean” Gene. Hogan is irate over Elizabeth stabbing Macho in the back and speculates as to why. He calls her a turncoat and puts the heel spike to his eye that he suffered on Nitro two weeks back into perspective with Elizabeth also likely behind that. Okerlund turns to The Giant and the cage match that’s minutes away. Hogan says the match is unsanctioned with the referee outside the ring. You win by escaping the cage. Hulk says “The Hulk-A-Maniacs” will help him with his impaired vision. Yeah, because they are so many of them left … Yawn, the result of this Main Event isn’t in doubt is it?
Back to Michael Buffer again for the introductions.
Match 9: Unsanctioned Steel Cage Match
The Giant w/ “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan & Jimmy Hart vs. Hulk Hogan
Result/Analysis: Hogan via escape (15:07). I’m shocked! Of course, I’m not. Any living and breathing person who watched this match at the time wasn’t. Furthermore, when the quality of Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy in a Steel Cage Match at WrestleMania 2 supercedes what’s contained herein you have problems. WCW tried to recreate Hogan vs. Andre The Giant and they failed miserably. The Dungeon of Doom stable that existed entirely for Hogan’s demise was extinguished one-by-one with six months at a minimum poured into the failure. The “Hogan Sucks” chant continue during the match as the crowd was checked out after Savage/Flair and therby forced to sit through the inevitable ego trip with deafening silence. It was noticeable how unpopular Hogan was becoming at the time but when you circle back it’s more shocking how much wrestling fans had soured on Hulk-A-Mania. Fee Fi Fo Fum. I’d suggest reading Jack and The Beanstalk as this cage match is a replica of that fable. Terrible. Boring. Obvious. Hogan even circumvents 8-on-1 after his escape with the entire Dungeon all doing run-ins. Loch Ness, remember him? Me neither. He is held back.
The Verdict: I consider Savage/Flair, featuring Elizabeth’s heel turn, as the main takeaway from SuperBrawl VI historically. Flair never needed the belt as the top heel, and with The Four Horsemen, but he was WCW. Hogan’s popularity was all but extinguished although his career revival would come months later once those two former WWF Champions artrived from up North. Pillman was in full “Loose Cannon” at this point, at least in his remaining WCW tenure, as he and Sullivan orchestrate their worked shoot to get back at the emerging internet marks of the time. DDP and Johnny B. Badd wrestle a high quality match as I credit two workers who are undervalued in time. Sting and Luger retain the Tag-Team Titles twice over so as to continue their webbed tale of Sting trusting in Luger even though he shouldn’t. It’s easy to forget pre n.W.o. WCW when it comes to 1996, but I’d recommend this PPV if you’re wanting a rewind into the past.