– Hmm, Wrestleline seems to have omitted the Superbrawl V rant from the Wrestlemaniacs section, although they did include a link in the main section. Hopefully Heather will read this and correct the situation, or else helpfully include a link here.
– This is, as my longtime readers may realize, a “do over” of the rant I did after watching the show on PPV in 1996. As a general rule, the stuff I did before 1998 sucks worse than WCW, so here’s a newer, cooler version for y’all.
– Live from St. Petersburg, FL.
– Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Dusty.
– Opening match: The Public Enema v. The Nasty Boys. As usual, this is a street fight. Rocco grabs a table right away, but Sags bashes his head in with a chair, setting the tone for the match. The table gets set up in the ringside area and Rocco ends up getting slammed through it from the apron. Sags finds a garbage can and makes good use of it. Sags takes a piledriver on the can from Johnny. Meanwhile, Knobbs suplexes Rocco through the fake souvenir stand on the other side of the arena. All four men end up at the stand, more carnage following. Sags suplexes a table onto Rocco. Knobbs gets put on a table and Rocco tries a dive off the souvenir stand, but Knobbs moves and Rocco hits the table at a bad angle and gets pinned at 7:49. Say it with me entertaining crap. ***1/2
– Mean Gene has rumors of “two former World Wrestling Federation champions” who may be making their WCW debut soon. Hmm, two former WWF stars jumping to WCW in 1996 that could go somewhere if they played it right!
– For those of you lacking a sarcasm detector, the “rumor” referred to Hall and Nash making their famous jump a couple of months later.
– World TV title: Johnny B. Badd v. Diamond Dallas Page. Kimberly, after leaving Page late in 1995, has turned into Badd’s valet, and is noticeably lacking in the enormous breasts she would later develop. Winner of this gets the remainder of Kimberly’s bingo winnings (about $6.6 million), and possession of Kimberly. Quick brawl to start. Badd hits the slingshot legdrop. Good wrestling sequence follows, with Badd getting a backslide for two. Small package gets two. Badd gets caught with a hotshot as Dusty launches into an epic bout of soliloquizing that leaves Tony and Bobby speechless with incomprehension. DDP hits a gutbuster and tries an irish whip, but Badd’s knee gives way. That doesn’t end up going anywhere, oddly enough. He does manage a sunset flip on DDP for two. DDP gets a floatover DDT in response to put him down again, but pauses to yell at Kimberly. She gives him a “0”, and he SELLS it, falling backwards in shock and getting cradled for two. Now THAT’S dedication to your craft. Page goes to the rope-assisted chinlock. It gets a few two counts. Johnny mounts the comeback. Top ropes sunset flip gets two. Ligerbomb gets two. Rollup gets two. Blind charge misses and Page gets two. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two for Page. Sleeper, reversed. Page goes for the flapjack, but Badd reverses to a tombstone for the pin to retain at 14:56. Good match. ***1/4
– WCW World tag team title: Lex Luger & Sting v. Harlem Heat. Luger and Sting also have a match against the Road Warriors later in the evening that will also be a title defense if they keep it here, so that should give you an idea of what the ending is right there. Booker & Sting start and have a good little sequence. Luger comes in and acts heelish, pissing Sting off. He comes back in and dominates. Luger comes back in again and plays face-in-peril for a while, as he and Stevie Ray completely stink up the joint. The low point sees Stevie doing a move, intended to be a powerbomb, that’s so bad that even TONY is unsure of what to call it. Match drags on as Sting gets distracted and the Warriors do the inevitable run-in, take out Stevie Ray with a lead pipe, and Luger gets the pin to retain at 11:44. Crap, begone from my screen. Ã‚Â½*
– US title match: Konnan v. One Man Gang. Speaking of crap, the US title lost all it’s credibility in 1996, as WCW used it as a contract incentive for every foreign dignitary they signed. Case in point, they put the title on talentless lunk Kensuke Sasaki in 1995 to suck up to New Japan, then One Man Gang for reasons I’m still unclear on, then finally “mexican superstar” Konnan, who brought the luchadores with him. Given that of the entire crop of them brought in, only Juvy and Rey Rey escaped with their cajones intact, so to speak, maybe they should have stayed south of the border. At least it would have spared us matches like this one. Gang dominates the entire match, punching and grunting a lot. Gang is like Kevin Nash without the inside jokes or nice hair. Gang hits the 747 splash, but picks up Konnan at two, thus sealing his fate as Konnan comes back and wins with a somersault whatever off the top for the pin at 7:24. Let’s just move on. DUD
– “Respect match”: Brian Pillman v. Kevin Sullivan. I forget if The Rick ever covered this in his columns, but this is why Brian Pillman got his image as a total nutjob in 1996. The idea here is that it’s a strap match, and the winner is the guy who makes the other one say “I respect you”, due to some convoluted Horsemen v. Dungeon of Doom feud. So anyway, they fight for less than a minute, then suddenly Pillman grabs the mike and says “I respect you booker man!” and walks away, giving Sullivan the win. Crowd is confused, and so are the announcers. The idea is that smart marks knew that Sullivan was a booker at the time, and the angle was intended for them. However, Sullivan and Pillman didn’t tell anyone else, including the boys in the back, the other bookers, the agents, or even the front office of WCW. They were going for realism, see. Of course, the realism was so real that when Pillman “asked for his release” as part of a “shoot angle”, the office actually GAVE IT TO HIM, and by the time Sullivan got wind of the fact that the lawyers weren’t in on the joke, Pillman had what he wanted: A free and clear release from WCW. He probably should have apologized and re-signed with WCW, but I guess pride got the better of him and he signed a bigger money offer with the WWF, a move which, indirectly, ended his life. Anyway, after Sullivan stands around in the ring for a while to sell that “it’s a shoot”, Arn Anderson comes out and takes Pillman’s place, they do their thing for a couple of minutes, and then Ric Flair comes out to “break it up” and give the illusion that the whole thing was improvised. Well, I guess it WAS improvised from Anderson and Flair’s point of view, but really Sullivan had the whole thing planned out in advance.
– WCW World tag team title: Sting & Lex Luger v. The Road Warriors. Luger tries to walk right away but Sting talks him into staying. Repeat about 5 minutes over the course of 10 minutes. FINALLY Sting and Hawk start. More stalling follows. For those who didn’t have the good fortune to sit through this irriatingly dumb storyline back in 95-96, the idea was that Luger had returned to WCW, but wasn’t trustworthy, and was in fact playing Sting for a fool by using him to win the tag titles while working as a heel with Jimmy Hart behind his back. Thankfully they got bored with that one and turned Luger full face in time for the nWo to arrive. Hawk controls after blowing a neckbreaker here. The Warriors were REALLY starting to show the signs of total deterioration at this point. Luger comes in and gets powerslammed by Animal for two. He gets thoroughly thrashed, so decides to let Sting come back in and handle things. Flying splash from Sting hits nothing but knee, and Hawk gets the hot tag. Sting comes back with the Stinger splash on Animal, but Hawk breaks up the Scorpion deathlock. Sting plays face-in-peril until Luger charges in and a big brawl erupts, until the ref calls for the double-DQ at 13:55. Way lame ending to a boring match. **
– WCW World title, cage match: Randy Savage v. Ric Flair. Flair has Woman, Savage has Liz. That becomes important later. Flair takes FOREVER to get in the cage. Slugfest to start. Flair wins and tosses Savage into the cage, then KO’s the ref, just because he can. Savage hits a pair of clotheslines for two. Flair tosses him into the cage again. Chops in the corner and a back elbow soften Savage up. Flair goes upstairs and gets slammed off and figure-foured. Savage releases the hold and kicks Flair in the head. Big right gets two. Savage goes to the top of the cage and gets nailed coming down. Flair milks it for a few two-counts. Back into the cage again with Savage. Figure-four, but Savage makes the ropes, which is kinda retarded in a no-DQ match, of course, especially when the announcers were just pointing out minutes before that the ropes can’t force a break in this match. Flair tries again, Savage cradles for two. Slugfest again, and now Flair gets sent to the cage, twice. Flair gives in to his baser instincts and blades at this point, so we zoom off to the WIDE ANGLE LENS OF DOOM. Flair goes upstairs and gets his tights yanked down. Oh, sure, for THAT they zoom back in. He falls off and Savage covers for two, with the bell accidentally ringing. Flair gets control, goes up again, and Savage yanks his tights down AGAIN. The announcers are just losing it. Flair fights him off but gets sent to the cage again. This jars the door loose, which again becomes important later. Woman tosses powder at Savage, but he ducks. Liz then turns on Savage, handing her shoe through the open door to Flair. Savage schoolboys Flair for two in a rib on the Wrestlemania 8 ending, and when Flair gets up he nails Savage with the shoe and pins him to win his 13th Worth title at 19:00. The usual **** affair here.
– Cage match: Hulk Hogan v. The Giant. A small, but vocal, group of people chants “Hogan sucks” as Giant makes his entrance. Hogan is still selling an eye injury from Nitro, one that either came from hot coffee or a woman’s shoe, because that was en vogue at the time for Nitro (and indeed in the last match!). WCW’s obsession with hot coffee and women’s shoes would lead to them being viciously satired in the Billionaire Ted skits later on. This one is WWF escape rules. Hogan punches away to dominate. Bodyslam fails, as it ALWAYS does. You’d think after 10 years of the same spot Hogan would mix it up a bit. I swear to god he could be wrestling Taka Michinoku and a bodyslam attempt in the first five minutes would fail and result in him clutching his back. Giant huffs and puffs around the ring and chokes out Hogan and stuff. Hogan fights back, and the bodyslam fails AGAIN. Okay, he’s really fat, we get the damn point. More lumbering and bearhuggishness. The announcers stress that the Giant should be working on Hogan’s injured eye. Why? To set up an eye-related submission move? I mean, if you’re gonna hit someone in the eye, it really doesn’t matter if it’s already injured or not, it’s gonna hurt. Unless Hogan has super steroid-enhanced eye muscles or something and thus an injured eye is required to properly hit him there. Giant hits AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHCHOKESLAM weakly, but Hogan no-sells and hulks up. He rams Giant into the cage roughly 17 times (seriously) and slams him. Giant makes his first ever attempt at blading, and we thus see why he waited until 1999 to ever try it again. The announcers pay lip-service to saying that he’s busted open, but you’d have to look REAAAAALLLY hard to see any blood. Hogan hits three legdrops, and Giant no-sells them. Good god what a farce this is. Hogan climbs up, Giant follows, Hogan knocks him down and climbs out at 15:04. One of the worst cage matches ever. -*
– Then, to top off the evening, the entire Dungeon of Doom (8 people, mind you) run in and attack, and Hogan FIGHTS THEM ALL OFF. Okay, granted he had a chair, but still. They had the guy cornered, in a steel cage mind you, and outnumbered 8-to-1, and they still couldn’t even knock him down? Gotta love Hulk Hogan. And then to REALLY insult the paying customer, it seems WCW loved this segment SO MUCH that they headlined the next PPV, Uncensored 96, with Hogan and Savage facing 8 people in a match so hideously bad even I might have trouble finding the words when I’m forced to review it next month for the Uncensored concept rant.
The Bottom Line: Well, ignoring the abomination that is the main event, the rest of the show was solid and fun most of the way along, with a great swerve in the main event that loses most of it’s steam watching now, given Savage and Liz’ collective 8 million non-sensical turns that followed this show. It’s still worth a rental, though, as a representative of the last really good show before the nWo era began.