The SmarK Retro Repost – Fall Brawl ’95


– I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Main Event pre-game show

that WCW used before the PPV. Much like Heat these days, WCW used to

use their Sunday afternoon show as a lead-in, and in this case we got a

“classic” angle, as Hogan (with 10 or 12 planted actors posing as fans)

was doing an interview with Mean Gene outside, sitting on his Harley.

However, that mean, nasty, stinking, wart-infested Giant drove up in his

monster truck and (with the help of about 5 different camera angles)

crushed the innocent motorcycle. Then he leaned out of the window and

made faces at Hogan like a crack junkie coming off a particularly bad

batch. Anyway, later on the show is somewhat redeemed by a pretty good

debut for Eddy Guerrero as he faces Alex Wright.

– Live from Asheville, North Carolina. What, did they want to be

Nashville but discovered that the name was already taken?

– Your hosts are Tony Skee-a-vone and Bobby Heenan.

– Opening match: Brian Pillman v. Johnny B. Badd. Badd’s character

seems have to gotten all the gay out of his system by this point, with

the exception of the Badd Blaster, the confetti-shooting gun he still

brought with him from time to time. Winner of this thing gets a shot at

Sting’s US title at some indeterminate point in the future. Pillman

gets a small heel pop, despite his sickeningly babyface “California

Brian” gimmick that he was stuck with at the time. Badd was literally

improving daily by this point. Longish feeling out period to start with

not much going on. Headlock, armdrag, etc. Match gets moving about 8

minutes in, as Badd works Pillman’s leg, causing a shoving match to

erupt and Pillman to dust off the old heel persona from the Hollywood

Blonds days. Pillman starts running like a coward and cheating, drawing

mad heel heat from the crowd. Badd gets the slingshot legdrop for two.

We get the double KO spot, with Pillman recovering first and hitting a

cheap headbutt to take Badd down and get more heel heat. I’m in awe of

Pillman’s in-ring heel turn as we watch. Badd gets tossed, but suplexes

Pillman to the floor and hits a pescado (dive over the top to the

floor). Nice. Back in the ring, and Badd tries to come off the top,

but gets dropkicked in mid-air by Pillman. Badd gets a powerbomb for

two. Badd counters Pillman’s finisher, the tornado DDT, by shoving him

to the mat for two. Pillman with a russian legsweep into an armlock

submission move as time winds down. Badd escapes and hits the TOOTY

FRUITY PUNCH OF DOOM for two. Pillman hits Air Pillman for two, then a

backslide for two as time expires at 20:00. We need a #1 contender,

though, so it’s overtime.

They fight to the floor, then back in as both miss a dropkick. Pillman

gets a sleeper, reversed by Badd, which is one of my least favorite

moves in wrestling, next to the Indian deathlock when performed by

anyone not from Japan. Pillman goes for a superplex, but Badd pushes

him off and sunset flips him off the top for two. Badd tries a

powerbomb (like earlier in the match) but it’s reversed to a rana for

two by Pillman. The psychology here is positively All Japan-ish.

Pillman with a crucifix, countered into a fallaway slam by Badd for two.

Badd hits the top rope rana for two. He tries again, but Pillman

reverses to the tornado DDT, this time hitting it for two. Pillman goes

to the top, but he’s knocked off and to the steel railing where he hits

his jaw. He does that spot all the time, and it always looks great.

Badd nails the somersault plancha for good measure. Back in, but when

Badd tries the slingshot legdrop again, Pillman counters and it misses.

I’m really digging the psychology here. Pillman tosses Badd and hits a

tope suicida, which is really amazing considering the shape his body was

in at the time. He goes for a springboard dropkick, but misses and

crotches himself on the top rope. They criss-cross and Pillman tries a

cross-body, but Badd uses his weight advantage to fall on top of Pillman

for the pin at 29:57. Just a spectacular match. ****1/4

– Cobra v. Sgt. Craig Pittman. And away down the other end of the

spectrum we go. This would be the sort of blowoff for the Pittman-Cobra

feud, which was like the GI Joe equivalent of Blood Runs Cold. Cobra,

oddly enough, would go on to respectability as nWo Sting. Pittman’s

only worthwhile contribution to wrestling was a quote on Nitro late in

1995…”The beatings will continue until morale improves”. I LOVE that

quote. Anyway, one of Pittman’s underlings (Prince Iaukea, oddly

enough, dressed in fatigues) comes out to run interference before the

match starts, allowing Pittman to repel from the ceiling and beat Cobra

with a cross-armbreaker in less than a minute. DUD And that was that.

– Video package of another one I forgot about for Netcop Busts: Paul

Orndorff hires motivational speaker Gary Spivey to boost his

self-confidence. Gary, for those of you not familiar with

this…interesting…angle, has a fake-looking wig that looks to have

been ripped right off a live sheep. This angle was so lame that

Orndorff retired soon after.

– TV title match: Rent-a-gade v. DDP. David Flair has nothing on

Renegade, a sort-of Ultimate Warrior lookalike who was brought into WCW

in early 1995 as Hulk Hogan’s “ultimate suprise” in order to trick the

rubes into thinking Jim Hellwig had signed with WCW. To say it

backfired for WCW is like saying World War II went pretty badly for

Japan. The fans didn’t buy into him from the beginning, so what did WCW

do? Drop it and move on? HELL NO! They put him over Arn Anderson

cleanly at Great American Bash 95 for the TV title, of course. If you

can’t see the logic, you’re just not a big enough WCW fan. You can’t

BUY genius like that, kids. The fans got more and more tired of

Renegade, and the WWF decided to file a lawsuit preventing him from

using the Warrior’s mannerisms, just in case WCW fans happened to be

total retards who couldn’t tell the difference themselves. The result

was this match, as the time had come for the Great Renegade Experiment

to end after 7 months of excrutiating matches and bad interviews. DDP

was in full trailer park trash mode, having just been rescued from

poverty by the mysterious benefactor (who never was named), and then won

13 million dollars after swindling Kimberly out of her bingo winnings.


DDP has his hired goon Maxx Muscle (don’t ask, I don’t know where he is

now) in his corner. Renegade no-sells everything from DDP to start.

Renegade misses a move and clotheslines himself on the top rope, giving

DDP the advantage. He gets a few two counts, but the crowd is totally

out of this one. Renegade makes the comeback, hitting two sloppy

clotheslines and the HANDSPRING ELBOW OF DEATH! It’s pretty sad when

the guy in question is the last one to realize what a joke he is.

Splash off the top gets two, which was a dead giveaway that the

Renegade’s reign was over, because his finisher was now dead. DDP

tries a VERY telegraphed Diamond Cutter, but Renegade escapes. One of

the best aspects of DDP’s improvement was his ability to literally hit

the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere. Maxx jumps on the apron and collides

with DDP, but instead of capitalizing like a good babyface should, he

goes after Maxx, and walks into a Diamond Cutter with an assist from

Maxx Muscle to give DDP his first title at 7:53. Sadly, Renegade’s

career spiralled downhill from there so fast that he ended up taking his

own life earlier this year. DDP meanwhile, possessed of equal talent

but with better backstage connections, has won every title in WCW twice

and has a place as a booker. That’s why politics sucks. **

– WCW World tag team title: Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater v. Harlem

Heat. Stevie Ray makes sure to inform us that it is, indeed, “on like

neckbone”, as he makes his way past the camera. Thanks, I was worried

there. But what about the chickenwing on a string? This match,

meanwhile, is the result of a convoluted series of title changes between

Slamboree 95 and here, with a couple of them being invented from nothing

and edited together from previous matches. The end result was Buck and

Slater with the tag titles, although no firm evidence exists that the

title change that made them champs ever actually happened. It’s WCW,

don’t ask, just shake your head and move on. Wisdom from Bobby: “In

order to beat Buck and Slater, you’re going to have to beat them”. Tony

has no answer for that one. Tony hypes the hotline instead, noting that

a prominant superstar may be defecting to another organization. In

other news, a prominant ball of gas may be rising in the morning, but

you’ll have to call my hotline to find out. Seriously, the defecting

star thing was like EVERY DAY in 1995. It was more newsworthy when

someone DIDN’T get out of their contract and switch promotions. Poetry

from Bobby: “Que sera sera/Whatever will be, will be/So meet me in my

pickup, sweetie/We’re off to Bucksnort, Tennessee”. Tony questions

Bobby’s sanity. I question his sobriety. Subplot for the match:

Sherri is trying to seduce Robert Parker, the manager for the champs.

See, Parker had been pursuing her, but she wasn’t interested. Then she

took a fall to the floor and hit her head, suddenly realizing her love

for him. Hey, can you tell that I’m deliberately ignoring the match?

You know, it’s really hard to appreciate how horribly untalented Stevie

Ray was even back then unless you have the hindsight of today’s

“matches” from him to compare with. Really unspeakably dull heat

segment on Booker T, so I won’t speak of it. Instead, I’ll note that

I’m surprised WCW hasn’t hauled either Slater or Buck out of mothballs

and put them with the Rednecks. Or even Robert Parker as a mouthpiece

for them. After what feels like six years, Stevie Ray gets the hot tag,

and a pier-six brawl erupts. So of course now that it’s getting good,

the camera cuts to the OTHER ring, where Sherri is seducing Parker. The

ref is totally lost, so we get a run-in for good measure, as the Nasty

Boys avenge Buck’s interference in their match earlier in the night by

nailing him with an international object and Booker T pins him to give

the Heat their third tag titles at 17:00. Bad match, dumb ending. 1/2*

Parker gets dumped by Buck and Slater after the match, and he’d go on to

co-manage the Heat along with Sherri for about the next year or so.

– Ric Flair v. Arn Anderson. The resuscitation of the Horsemen was one

of the few things WCW did right in 1995. This particular match came

about because Flair was becoming more and more dependant on Anderson to

help him win matches, and it came to a head as Vader beat of them in a

handicap match at the Clash preceding this show, with Flair not pulling

his weight. Anderson confronted him with years of pent-up frustration

at never getting a shot at Flair’s title, and they decided to have this

match to get it out of their system. This was such a great storyline.

They play mind-games with each other to start, with Flair taking the

heel role. They exchange wristlocks, which is the worst thing you can

do when wrestling Arn Anderson, because he immediately goes after

Flair’s arm. Flair tries to take it to the mat but gets nowhere. Arn

works the armbar, so Flair reacts the best way he knows — he chops him

down. He attacks the knee, drawing a big pop. Arn gets a high knee off

the second rope, then goes back to the arm. Tony and Bobby do a great

job of selling the psychology and the history of the Anderson’s

arm-breaking tactics. Arn actually pulls out a single-arm DDT,

something he learned from Bobby Eaton. They exchange shots in the

corner, and AA ends up on the floor. Flair comes off the top rope with

a double-axehandle, then tosses Arn back in. AA comes back, but a low

blow turns the tide. Back outside the ring, as Flair takes a backdrop

on the floor, and retaliates with a suplex. Back in the ring for a

delayed suplex and more chops, for a two count. Arn comes back and goes

for the DDT, but Flair grabs the ropes to block. He flops for good

measure. He goes to the top, but AA slams him off and goes for that

dreaded move, the Double Axehandle Off the Second Rope That Has Never

Hit a Single Person. Luckily for Ric, it misses. I get the feeling

that Arn’s had that one saved up in him for so long that if he ever hit

it, the poor recipiant would be dead. Flair gets the figure-four, but

Arn reverses. Flair escapes and tries agian, but gets cradled for two.

Now Pillman jumps onto the ring apron and talks smack to Flair, so Flair

smacks him. Pillman doesn’t appreciate that, and kicks Flair in the

head, allowing Arn to DDT his best friend and pin him at 21:53 to the

shock and/or delight of the crowd, depending on which 50% of the arena

you asked at that moment. That should have effectively killed the

Horsemen for good, but bigger schemes were in the works at Halloween

Havoc that year… ****

– Wargames: The Dungeon of Doom v. The Hulkamaniacs. The angle to set

this up is almost exactly, to the letter, the one currently running

today for WCW. Sting, Hogan, Luger and Savage are the faces, with Sting

and Hogan having a match on Nitro that’s interrupted by the monster

heels. Luger doesn’t Hogan, Savage doesn’t trust Luger, blah blah blah.

The Dungeon of Dumb is represented by Brutus “the Zodiac Booty Disciple

Barber Butcher Clipmaster with No Name Man” Beefcake, John “the Shark

Avalanche Earthquake Golga” Tenta, THE MONSTER MENG, and Kamala, who has

no other funny names, but is a really big load of crap even without

them. If Hogan’s team wins (IF????), he gets five minutes with Kevin

Sullivan. All the Hulkamaniacs are wearing facepaint. Because it’s

war, you see. Sting starts out with Shark, and it’s not very good.

Why? Because Shark is JUST TOO FAT. Shark is winded after two minutes

and goes for the bearhug. Shark actually tries a dive from one ring

into the other, but gets hung up on the top ropes. I’m surprised Tenta

can still look at himself in the mirror in the morning. Zodiac is next

in, nothing happens worth mentioning. Savage saves Sting, and he

immediately goes after Zodiac in a “winner gets to be Hulk’s lapdog for

the day” match. No winner seems evident. Savage’s leg somehow ends up

OUTSIDE the cage, where Sullivan works on it. Kamala is in next.

Nothing notable happens. Luger is up next, but he and Savage don’t

trust each other and end up fighting. That allows Meng to come in and

clean house. Nothing much going on. Hogan is the last man in, throwing

powder like a true sportsman. More directionless kicking and punching

until Hulk puts Zodiac into…wait for it…A CHINLOCK (seriously, just

a plain old rear chinlock, not even a proper camel clutch) for the

submission at 18:59. This was pathetic on so many levels I can’t even

begin to start. *1/2 So now we get…

– Hulk Hogan v. Kevin Sullivan. Hogan beats on the Taskmaster for a

couple of minutes until the Giant (looking positively thin compared to

the Big Slow of today) jumps into the ring and does something to Hogan’s

neck that incapacitates him. He’s the son of Andre, you know.

Hulkamaniacs make the save, end of show.

The Bottom Line: This felt more like an episode of Nitro, with a bunch

of storylines being set up for Halloween Havoc rather than paying

anything off here. The Hogan-DOD crap would drag on…and on….and

on…until Uncensored 96 when Hogan would essentially beat the whole

group and Ric Flair by himself in that ridiculous cage match.

Still, two ****+ matches is nothing to sneeze at, even if the rest


Mildly recommended.