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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Fall Brawl 1996

March 12, 2013 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Fall Brawl 1996  

Scheduled Card:
1. Grudge Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr.
2. Submission Match: Scott Norton vs. Ice Train.
3. Mexican Heavyweight Championship: Juventud Guerrera vs. Konnan (c).
4. Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit.
5. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Super Calo vs. Rey Mysterio (c).
6. WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Nasty Boys vs. Harlem Heat (c).
7. Grudge Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Giant.
8. WarGames: n.W.o vs. WCW.

• Video package is one of the better WCW ones I think I’ve ever seen, not in terms of production quality, but in terms of content. It covers the debut of Hall, the powerbombing of Bischoff, Hogan’s turn, winning the belt off Giant, Dibiase joining, Giant turning and joining, Sting’s apparent turning and joining, the whole n.W.o crew spraypainting their way into infamy, and Luger and Horsemen being left alone as WCW’s only hopes.

• We start with Tony, Brain, and Big Dust. Tonight, it’s WCW vs. n.W.o in Wargames. Dust: “SHOCKWAVE UPON SHOCKWAVE WAS DELIVERED AT THE DOORSTEP OF WCW!” Nitro went off the air with Sting/“Sting” jumping Luger in the rain outside of a limo in an awesome segment, so no one knows where he lies.

Grudge Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. DDP had been running through all of the Guerreros (though he’d already lost the BattleBowl ring to Eddie and been upset by Chavo on Nitro) so Chavo gets this grudge match even though this is his PPV debut with the company. Chavo comes hot of the blocks with a couple of dropkicks and a flip splash to the floor to send DDP reeling. Chavo sends DDP into the guardrail as we’re off and rolling with a frenetic start. Not satisfied, Chavo continues “rag-taggin’” him by throwing him into the stairs and then getting a belt and LAYING into DDP. Dust: “WHIP HIM LIKE A DOG, BABY!” Ref letting all of this go and Brain jumps all over him saying that if Nick Patrick were there, he’d have DQ’ed Chavo. Chavo slingshots in with a splash for 1, 2, only 2. Chavo with another crossbody for 2 and we finally slow things down with Chavo going to work on the arm. Dust tries to explain why this match and tonight is such a big deal for WCW. Dust: “Hearts were broken, not only by Hogan, but by Sting, but I guarantee ya we REALLY have to go for ’em tonight, Brain.” Normally, I’d hate the commentators already talking about the main event and Hogan but that was a gold transition, Jerry, GOLD! And it absolutely makes this match seem more important. Meanwhile, DDP tries to send Chavo off but Chavo hangs on to the arm and rolls through BACK TO THE ARM! That’s pretty sweet.

• DDP keeps trying to pull down Chavo by the hair but Chavo keeps kipping up and then takes down DDP and goes back to the arm. That was a solid sequence but they have lost the crowd after that hot start. Dust worries that DDP will “uncle” and give up. Dust: “Chavo’s got him in a position to ‘uncle him’ and if he’s going to self-destruct, as you say Bobby, he’s going to have to do it soon, because Dallas may uncle soon at Wargames. … Ya know what uncle mean? Ya know?” Brain: “The opposite of aunt.” Tony: “It means to give up.” DDP fights his way free and goes to a tilt-a-whirl but Chavo armdrags through and DDP gets hung up in the ropes. Chavo goes for a Bossman attack but DDP rolls out of the way and Chavo eats it to the floor. DDP goes to the BLATANTCHOKE as Brain takes over and puts over DDP’s early career like no one else: “Diamond Dallas has the experience, he’s been in that ring longer than that young man lying on his back right now. He’s been in that ring with some tough, tough people. This man has gone through $13 million, he’s gone through being on the streets, he’s been broke, tapped out, busted, MADE IT BACK! Big star here in WCW and Mr. Guerrero is not going to ruin the light that’s shining on this man.” That’s beautiful stuff. I can’t do it justice in describing how awesome it is for someone with the gravitas and credentials of Brain to really invest in a small-timer’s backstory and character motivation.

• Back in, DDP springboards off the top with a flying clothesline as the place comes alive for him. DDP drops a few boots and catches his breath by going to a front facelock. He rolls through for a 2 count. Unfortunately, Bobby’s commentary does not prove fortuitous as DDP generically chokes and stomps around. Chavo small packages him for a close 2 count that the crowd was into again. DDP does the Bang taunt to a pop which is immediately followed by boos which then both quickly die out. Strange reaction. DDP sends Chavo into the turnbuckle chest first and then faceplants him with a back suplex for 2. DDP is furious so he works the cover for a few 2 counts. Tony: “THE YOUNGSTER WILL NOT STAY DOWN!” Dust: “There is no quit in the Guerrero family. I guarantee ya.” Brain: “I heard the whole family was quitters, that’s the rumor I heard.” Dust: “WELL, you heard the wrong thing. I know ’em personally.” Tony: “YOU NEVER HEARD THAT!” Brain: “I heard Eddie Guerrero’s a quitter, I heard he’s a quitter, the whole family is quitters. His dad got laid off fourteen times in one week at a job. HE’S A QUITTER! That’s what I heard…” Tony: “If you heard that, you’re the only one man in the history of this sport – there have been a lot of men in it – that have heard that rumor!” DDP goes to a chinlock as the match can’t seem to get much of a rhythm going mainly because this heat is borderline shits. Chavo tries firing up but DDP elbows him back down for 1, 2, only 2. DDP now drifts into farce with his best Flair routine of pantomiming Chavo giving him head (“BANG! BANG! BANG!”) before Chavo fights his way free and DDP wipes out flopping on a senton.

• During all of this, Dusty drifts off into a monologue about Wargames which has no place in the commentary right now, but it’s superb as well and deserves inclusion: “I’ve been in many Wargames and I was one that was airlifted out with a broken ankle. I’ve been stitched up. Most dangerous match! If you gon end something or FINALLY make a statement, this is where you’re gon do it. WARGAMES! RIGHT HERE! When that CAGE DROP, you get cold chills. If you ain’t up for it, you ain’t gon be ready to play, I guarantee ya!” ANYWAY, DDP telegraphs a backdrop and Chavo knee lifts him into the mat. Chavo springboards in with a clothesline but doesn’t cover. The crowd is popping for Chavo’s moves but not Chavo, kinda like they used to do with Mysterio. Chavo heads up top to hit a missile dropkick for 1, 2, 2 ½. Chavo heads up and flies into a rana for 1, 2, nearfall. Chavo charges into the corner but DDP gets the elbow up. He covers with the feet on the ropes for 1, 2, 2.99. No boos for that cheating because he’s more popular than Chavo. DDP shitcans Chavo into the second ring and scoops him up for a sideslam for 1, 2, only 2. DDP tries again but Chavo counters to the whirlybird. Chavo avoids a charge and school boys DDP for 1, 2, 2.999. Ddp is all ENOUGH WITH THIS LUCHA SHIT and goes to the SPINNING LIGER BOMB! 1, 2, 2.999. DDP calls for the Bang but Chavo wants a backslide. DDP stomps his foot(!) and spins him around into a fugly Diamond Cutter – more like a implant, kravat bulldog – for 1, 2, 3 to win it clean at 13:08. Even when DDP is a cheap heel, he’s got personality for days. He was just thrusting into the upper midcard and getting over with the cutter that it was inevitably the crowd back him over the energetic but anonymous, high-flyer Chavo. A solid match with some very effective and at-times hilarious commentary that help. ***

• Meanwhile, Mean Gene gives up a special overview of “The Attack” – “The Hostile Takeover.” Hall and Nash’s invasion and then follow-up with powerbombing Bischoff through the stage at GAB and Hogan turning at BATB. The crazy gangland attack by the n.W.o before Hog Wild and Hogan winning the belt there. Afterwards, Giant turning and joining and Sting apparently joining before WCW circled the wagons for Wargames.

Submission Match: Scott Norton vs. Ice Train. FIRE AND ICE COME RAINING DOWN… ON EACH OTHER! Rather than talk about this match that would main event anywhere in the country, Tony says that the n.W.o, if they win tonight, want WCW to pay all the bills. They want their own TV show, tag team tournament, limo service to pick up Hogan, their own private jet, and catering! WCW DRAWS THE LINE AT FREE FOOD!

• Anyway, Ice Train has HELLOMYNAMEISTEDDY as a manager and seeing as both guys tip the scales over 3 bills and aren’t exactly limber, this should blow. They argue about the rules before the match even starts and Teddy wants Norton checked for a weapon even though he’s wearing singlet with no breathing room and this is a submission match and all. Brain is the only one paying attention and brings up the damage from weeks prior to Ice Train’s shoulder and Dusty makes fun of him for saying something intelligible. Train goes to the arm a few times so Norton shoulderblocks him down. Train comes back with a hiptoss and shoulderblock of his own. Dust: “VERY HARD TO ‘UNCLE’ ONE OF THESE GUYS! BUT THAT MICROPHONE AIN’T THERE TO SING THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER!” Train with a World’s Strongest Slam and goes for a splash but Norton moves out of the way. Norton with a DDT and mouths off to Teddy. Brain: “He has no advantage knocking him out because he can’t quit if he’s unconscious.” Dust: “Not unless you’re a good qwentwilokwist.” Brain: “A WHAT?!?” Dust: “A good ventreelogist.” Norton with a back suplex and goes back to jawing with Teddy for no reason. Short-arm clothesline follows and Norton punches some more. Train comes back with a powerslam and the WORST Camel Clutch ever. It’s so bad that Norton keeps rolling back and Train just falls off into a chinlock. The ref can’t even ask him to quit before Train says the hell with it and hits a snap suplex to crickets.

• Norton comes back with a clothesline and goes to an armbar. Tony exposes the business by chastising Norton for not “pumping and cranking” the hold to, ya know, break Train’s arm. Teddy can’t bear the cruelty of putting the fans through this unbearable lightness of submission and seeing the match go on any longer and climbs the apron to throw in the towel. Instead, the ref waves him off so these two can crawl over to an oxygen tank and finish catching a breather. Tony: “I guess he didn’t quit. That’s an awful lot of panting.” Norton hits a neckbreaker or reverse jawbreaker if you’re Tony. Norton lunges into the corner selling a whip from Train and gets hoisted up for a strenuous bodyslam. Tony: “WITH EASE!” Train goes to a Fujiwara armbar but that goes nowhere as Dusty keeps rambling about how big their arms are. Train with a clothesline and goes for a splash… again but Norton gets the knees up. Norton comes back with a spinebuster and rolls Train into a Boston Crab. Norton just releases after a few and now switches to his own Fujiwara armbar. Teddy distracts just long enough for Norton to apply a flimsy Strangle Hold Gamma. Teddy can’t stand it any longer and interferes but gets choked off his feet in the process by Norton. Train attacks from behind and Norton submits to the Masterlock at 7:21. Who didn’t see that coming? A bruising hoss-fest that ends on a full nelson after a bunch of splashes and slams. *

Mexican Heavyweight Championship: Juventud Guerrera vs. Konnan (c). Juvy has a mask and trips over the ringstairs circling around the ring backwards. That bodes well. Konnan has turned heel and joined the Dungeon of Doom since his debut earlier in 1996. Juvy uses some quickness to avoid Konnan until he gets flipped over with a release German suplex. Dusty wants to know why Konnan went evil and speculates it’s because of the n.W.o. Brain steps in and says it’s because he’s been “Americanized.” He sends Juvy off again and picks him up for a flapjack before dropping him ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR! Juvy regroups and springboards THREE TIMES in from across both rings into a spinwheel kick. He covers for 1, 2, only 2. Juvy sends him into the corner for more kicks and Konnan bails out. Juvy follows out with a suicide dive and Konnan is major league half-assing it already. He walks Juvy over to the guardrail and just WAITS for him to try a springboard before countering into a LOW DOWN BOMB! That was an awesome move but the set-up was terrible.

• Back in, Konnan SWAT team rolls into his clothesline to a decent reaction as Dusty quizzes Tenay about what the entire country thinks of young “You-ventud.” Konnan hits a basement dropkick for 2. Konnan goes to a lying ab stretch. He finally releases and sends Juvy off and sidesteps a Bossman attack and Juvy sells it by leaping BETWEEN the rings in an unique spot but one was that not greatly executed. Juvy springboards in from the second ring with a rana but again they get caught up in the ropes and torpedo the spot. Juvy with a kick as Konnan awkwardly stands there waiting and then bails out to the floor overselling. Juvy flies out to the floor with a plancha that AGAIN Konnan stands there for like a seat-filler at the Oscars. Back in, Juvy with another dropkick but Konnan backdrops him across to the OTHER ring and hangs him out to dry on the top rope. Konnan then swings him around for a powerbomb back into ring 1. That was slick and finally something that looked good too. Konnan applies a leg grapevine and switches into an STF. Rather than wrestle a competent match, Konnan releases to let Juvy get to the apron for ANOTHER GODDAMN SPRINGBOARD, this time, for a moonsault but he shorts the jump and Konnan can’t get under to catch him. These fuckers.

• Konnan gathers him up for the third powerbomb of the match. Konnan chop blocks the leg with a dropkick and follows up with two Rolling Germans. Juvy decides not to sell and instead to roll to the floor to regroup. Juvy: “AHH! FUCK!” After catching his breath, Juvy springboards him with a missile dropkick and guillotine legdrop for 2. They roll to the apron with no transition at all, so Juvy can set-up a rana into the ring. Instead, he drops down for the Arabian/MDK Bomb but Konnan blocks and just hits a dropkick. Tony: “It’s obvious they take a lot more risks than American wrestlers.” Bobby: “It’s obvious to me he’s had an attitude change and that’s good. HERE IN WCW, YOU CAN’T COME IN AND… PUSSY-FOOT AROUND!” Tenay: “Wha–” Bobby: “YOU BETTER BE A MAN! YOU GOTTA BUILD UP A REPUTATION AND TAKE SOME PEOPLE OUT!” Anyway, Juvy crotches Konnan up top and calls for the top rope rana. Instead, he just backflips back to the mat without even trying a rana and Konnan dropkicks him down. That’s it, I give up. Juvy counters a monkey flip into a roll up for 2. Juvy rolls on top again for 1, 2, 2 ½. They counter some suplexes before Konnan pulls him over to the ropes for another apron counter. Juvy trampolines in for the 53rd time and hits another spinwheel kick. He covers for 2. He goes for the wheelbarrow roll-up but Konnan counters to a BEAST slingshot wheelbarrow suplex. He covers for nothing as they get too tied up near the ropes.

• Juvy hits another dropkick as the wheels came off 5 minutes ago and now they are trying to strip what’s left of the match and sell it for parts. Juvy then pulls Konnan down and Konnan hangs on to the top rope to set up the spot, even though he just has to let go to avoid. WCW: VIOLATING NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION ONE MATCH AT A TIME! Juvy front flips into a leg drop and covers for NOTHING! IN THE ROPES AGAIN! That’s twice they’ve botched getting into position for a pin. Juvy goes up top and hits the 450 for 1, 2, 2 ½. Tony compliments Nick Patrick’s officiating and Dusty is skeptical about the n.W.o evil Nick: “Mike, what would be the international… ramamacations of Nick messing this thing up?” Tony: “I don’t think Mike knows what a ramamcation is.” Juvy has officially lost his mind as he climbs the top rope and looks to be making it up as he goes, because he flops off in a 360 and falls on Konnan like he was clipped by a sniper. Patrick counts for 1, 2, nearfall. Konnan counters the up-and-over with an Alabama slam. Konnan bridges into a cover for 1, 2, 2 ½. They are blown up in a way normally reserved for Scott Steiner, but Konnan covers with a Muscle Buster that completely folds up Juvy. 1, 2, nearfall. Tony: “This has been like a car wreck in many ways.” Konnan finishes him off with Splash Mountain for 1, 2, 3 at 13:48.

• A botchtastic trainwreck. The guys obviously had a plan to fill up their match with every move Teddy Hart ever thought about throwing, but they overestimated their gas tanks and ability to, ya know, WORK. Rather than show some savvy and ditch the plan when things starting going south, they doubled down and went full-steam ahead with every move and false finish in the book on their way to wrestling purgatory. ¼*

Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit. This is Jericho’s WCW PPV debut. He’s the generic, happy to be here babyface. Benoit, on the other hand, is a Horsemen. They jaw for a bit before Benoit takes him down with a palm thrust. Benoit throws him into the turnbuckle and then pulls him down… BY THE HAIR! Benoit with a big backdrop and stomps around Jericho and hits a high angle back suplex for 1, 2, only. Tony speculates about why Benoit is wrestling twice tonight and Mongo isn’t scheduled at all. Dust: “When you come to the ball game, you bring ya ya uniform. You might play more than one play. You know what I’m talking bout?” Tony: [impatiently] “Yes I know.” Dust: “If, when you come to this big WARGAMES, you play in here, so much at stake. YOU BRING YA UNIFORM!” Benoit folds Jericho up with a Alabama Slam and then rolls him into a LIONTAMER! Benoit torques the hold before releasing it in disgust because Jericho won’t give up. Benoit goes for a Wild Bomb to end it but Jericho rolls through and spinwheel kicks Benoit down for 1, 2, nearfall. Benoit tries a few kicks so Jericho comes back with a DSLW. However, since this isn’t Japan, Benoit no sells so Jericho rolls him up for 2. Jericho sends him into the turnbuckle face-first and then dropkicks him down. Benoit bails out out to the apron so Jericho springboard dropkicks him to the floor. Jericho follows up with a springboard back elbow plancha down on Benoit. They both sell for a bit until they roll back in. Jericho as the plucky, fired up babyface yells for the crowd and they boo him. Jericho hits a missile dropkick anyway for 1, 2, only 2. Jericho folds him up with a powerbomb for 2. Jericho again plays to the crowd to crickets. Benoit tries to get something going but Jericho ducks behind and bridges Benoit into a Tiger Suplex. Benoit fires up and they chop it out and Jericho wins that with a spinkick. Benoit slides out to the apron and counters to a back suplex and drops Jericho TO THE FLOOR! Crowd woke up for that.

• Benoit sends him into the ringpost and Jericho comically trips over the stairs selling. Benoit talks trash and gives Jericho a knee to the breadbasket. Benoit hangs Jericho out to dry on the top rope and gets a Horseman pop. Benoit covers for another nearfall. They chop it out again and Benoit takes over by going to the eyes with the BLATANTEYEGOUGE. Benoit sends Jericho off and hooks in an ab stretch. Jericho armdrags Benoit over to escape but Benoit slams him down and heads up top. Benoit hits the big diving headbutt for 1, 2, 2 ½. Benoit shitcans Jericho out in disgust. They buy some time before Jericho small packages Benoit for 1, 2, THREEOHNOHEALMOSTGOT’IM. After outsmarting Benoit, Jericho with another pinning combination in a backslide for 2. Benoit now goes to an anchor hold as the crowd takes a breather as well. Benoit releases and works Jericho over in the corner with chops. Benoit sets up a catapult but Jericho rolls through for 1, 2, only 2. After some standing switches, Jericho again with a Northern Lights for 1, 2, 2.7. Stalemate so they go back to chopping it out. Benoit takes over and tries a Tombstone but Jericho counters back into his own TOMBSTONE! Rather than cover, he postures to the crowd and they AGAIN boo the hell out of him. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but lands on his feet. He continues with the YODELLING LARIATO! Jericho puts Benoit up top for the rana. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.99. The crew are now putting over Jericho big time for going toe-to-toe and hanging with Benoit. Jericho tries to springboard back again but Benoit tries him on the top rope. Dust: “THAT WILL…UH… CHANGE THE NOTES IN HIS SINGING!” Benoit hits a SUPER BACK SUPLEX for 1, 2, 3 and Jericho’s out at 14:39.

• A well-executed match with a solid story that looks even better positioned next to the previous crapfest. Jericho got to look like a million bucks in losing even if the crowd hated his irrationality optimism. ***1/4

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Super Calo vs. Rey Mysterio (c). Tenay back on commentary as Dusty wants to again know what’s on the QT and very hush hush from south of the border. Tenay tells him that Rey Rey is a much bigger star but this is a chance for Calo to make a name for himself. Rey drops down and whips Calo down so he bails out for a breather early. Back in, he grounds Rey early and works the arm. Rey flips over but gets thrown into the turnbuckle and powerslammed down. Calo with an elbow drop off the second rope to NOTHING. Crowd is dead as a doornail as he covers for 2. Tenay drifts into covering Mexican rap charts and how it influences Super Calo as he goes back to the arm. Rey fights back as they go through a knuckle-lock so Rey armdrags out of a wheelbarrow. Rey flips over again out of a blocked hiptoss and springboards in from the apron with a rana. Rey with the suicide dive fake-out as Tenay talks strategy: “Mysterio gets the clear nod in this one from me.” Dust: “Yeah, well Calo’s gotta beat him. Rey don’t have to beat him. I know he wants to and I didn’t need no interpreter to ask him that. I KNOW! I went right up to him and said, ‘SHOW HIM! BEAT THIS GUY!’” Brain: “DON’T EVER THINK YOU DON’T NEED AN INTERPRETER!” Dust: “….WELLLLLLL, LA-DE-DA-DE BOULA BOULA!” Back in, Calo with a dropkick and spins up to Calo’s shoulders setting up a rebound bomb for 1, 2, only 2. Calo springboards off the top with a splash and then clotheslines Rey out to the floor. Calo flies off the top with a MISSILE DROPKICK TO THE FLOOR! Calo slides back in and now slingshots out with a SENTON TO THE FLOOR and Rey takes it like a MANNNNNN! There is some majorly annoying redneck asshole near ringside entrance and he won’t shut up. Calo comes in and covers Rey for a two count but Rey gets the feet on the ropes. Calo: “RAPIDO!” Calo with another tilt-a-whirl slam for 2. Calo shitcans him over to the other ring and then SUPER REVERSE RANAS Rey and covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. This is a 1000x times better than Juvy/Konnan already.

• He throws Rey shoulder-first into the turnbuckle and then wraps the arm over the ropes and poses to mostly indifference but some mild boos. Calo hiptosses Rey and goes to a short-armscissors. He releases to go back to the air with another dropkick and an awkward clothesline that Rey oversells. Now, back to grounding with an ab stretch on Rey. Calo releases and switches to a Mexican Surfboard. Rey is getting stretched like he’s wrestling Stu Hart. Rey bails out to regroup as he’s getting completely trashed. Back in, Rey baseball slides through and dropkicks Calo down as Tony speculates about whether or not Calo is wearing skateboard gear. Rey crossbodys Calo but Calo gets hung up in the ropes and can’t flip over. Rey hangs on anyway and starts choking him and now Randy Anderson is trying to pull Calo THE OTHER WAY back into the ring and they pretzel Calo before he finally flips over and out to the floor. That looked nasty. Rey follows up with a flip splash. Rey tries a springboard but Calo counters with a dropkick. Brain: “ANTI-AIRCRAFT!” Calo covers for a few 2 counts. Calo slows things down again going back to this armscissors. They move over to the second ring again for no particular reason but at least Calo bossly wraps the arm over the top rope again. Calo hoists him up and just DESTROYS Rey by shoving him into the guardrail. Back into the first ring. Scratch that. Back to the far apron for a Greco-Roman test of strength that Rey springboards off the ropes into a spinning rana to the foor. That was video game-like in a way that only mid 90s Mysterio can manage. Rey flies out with another flip splash beyond throwing Calo in for a sunset flip. 1, 2, nearfall. Rey springboards into a corkscrew splash for 2. He tries a Victory Roll but Calo drops back with an Electric Chair for 2. Rey comes back by ranaing Calo into a bridge for another 2 count. Calo folds himself up missing a dropkick and Rey springboards in from the second ring with a double jump into a rana for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 15:49.

• Usual Rey match in WCW where he gets pummeled for the entirety with occasional comebacks and fluke roll ups down the stretch before the finish. The transitions from spot to spot were still a bit clunky but the sheer dazzling array of stuff on display is awesome. ***1/2

WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Nasty Boys vs. Harlem Heat (c). Dust: “WE GOT CLUBBERIN’ COMIN’ UP! FIRE IN THE HOLE!… THE FINE ART OF FISTFIGHTIN’!” HH have Sherri and Col. Parker with them. Tony reminds us that the n.W.o want their own tag belts but taunt them to come and get them from either HH or the Nasties. Stevie and Sags to start. Stevie throws him into the corner for a beatdown and some BLATANTCHOKING. Sags gets the elbow up and clubs him down with a LARIATO that Stevie sells well for 1, 2, only 2. Sherri talks trash from the floor and Sags rolls out and IT’S ON, MOTHERFUCKER! Crowd is fired up and Book joins Sherri to hold off Sags and Knobbs is there; Stevie’s out. IT’S A STANDOFF AT THE OK CORRAL! Dust: “Right now, they filibusterin’!” Yes AND this is cooking after only a few punches and a clothesline. The crowd starts up a NASTIESNASTIESNASTIES chant. Back in, Sags tags in Knobbs and they pound down Stevie. Dust: “THEY CLUBBERIN’! THE NASTIES: THE MASTERS OF CLUBBERIN’!” Brain: “WCW! World Clubbering Wrestling!” Knobbs covers for a fleeting 1 count. Stevie comes back with a haymaker and tags in Book for some kicks and shouting. He throws Knobbs into the turnbuckle: “HHUUUUAHHHHHHOOOH! HUH!” Knobbs fights back with a LARIATO and covers for 1, 2, only 2. Sags in to drop a knee and a neckbreaker for 1, 2, 2 ½. Knobbs tags in for some MOARCLUBBERIN’! Book cuts a flip selling a Knobbs LARIATO and it’s a donnybrook. HH is selling more than I’ve ever seen them here. Knobbs calls for the Pit Stop into Sags but Sherri interferes long enough for Stevie to waffle Knobbs from behind. Sags is throwing chairs around on the floor while the HH double clubber Knobbs. Stevie blows through Knobbs with a clothesline and drops a knee for 1, 2, only 2. Stevie slows things down with a chinlock. Knobbs elbows out but runs into a CRANE KICK! MOVESET! STEVIE RAY FOR ALL-VALLEY KARATE CHAMP! Stevie covers but Cobra Kai Sags sweeps the leg and breaks up the cover at 2.

• Book sneaks in without a tag and applies a chinlock of his own. Knobbs fights his way free but runs into another burrito. Book waffles Sags to set up more double teaming behind the ref’s back. He shitcans Knobbs out like a sack of dirt. Sherri goes for the waffle but Knobbs no sells to a POP! HE’S GOING TO GET HIS HANDS ON SHERRI! BUT WAIT! Book jumps him from behind. This is formulaic as hell but the crowd is FIRED UP! Book throws Knobbs into the guardrail but SAGS IS CHASING SHERRI THROUGH THE RING! She slides out by an inch and gets back to the safety of the HH corner. Back in, Stevie can’t gutwrench up Knobbs so instead Book hits a double ax handle off the top. Book goes for the Harlem Sidekick but Knobbs ducks and Book gets hung up in the ropes. Knobbs makes the tag to Sags and he smashes Book’s face into the mat. Sags with several Nasty-lines and tosses out Stevie. He hits a World’s Strongest Slam on Book and Sherri has run her mouth one too many times and gets tossed in the ring as well. Dust: “COME ON IN, MY LITTLE FRIIIIIIED PIE!” Sags rolls up Book for 1, 2, 2.99. Crowd is crazy into this. Sags calls for the Piledriver and hits it. 1, 2, NO! Stevie breaks it up but Knobbs pummels him to the floor. Sags heads up top but COLONEL PARKER TRIPS HIM UP! Sags chases him down on the floor but Stevie cuts him off at the pass with a LARIATO! Back in, Book covers for the academic 1, 2, 2 ½. Book finishes him off with the Ax Kick but Sags rolls to the floor only to get attacked by the entire Harlem Heat Management Company while Knobbs argues with the ref. Back in, Stevie covers for another nearfall. The Heat go for a double-team but Sags counters to a double facesmash. Sags crawls as the crowd stomps along and makes the tag to Knobbs. Knobbs hits several Nasty-lines and a splash on Stevie for 1, 2, Book breaks it up. It’s a brawl but the Nasties take over and call for the pumphandle slam and the splash. They hit it but Parker distracts Sags. SAGS LAYS OUT COL. PARKER! BUT WAIT! SHERRI SLIDES IN WITH THE CANE! She waffles Knobbs and Book drapes the arm for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 15:32.

• Fantastic if completely formula every step of the way. I hate to use the old wristlock from a wristwrench JR-ism, but it fits perfectly for this match. If you don’t think a great match can have only clotheslines and splashes, then stick with Rey-Calo or that godawful Konnan-Juvy disgrace. I’d rather watch this 10 times out of 10 over either of those matches, because it WORKED. Sometimes, the crowd unfairly shits on a match without giving it a chance and sometimes, they seem to cheer for the most ridiculous stuff that defies all logic. But most of the time, the crowd is right and they were CRAZY into this match and that’s because it worked. It made you want to see the Nasties win and Sherri and Parker and the HH get what they deserved.

• I’ve read the other reviews and yeah yeah, I know, “The Nasties suck”, “this is boring punch-kick-a-thon”, etc. And I don’t care about any of that. ****

• Meanwhile, Tenay is in the back with THE MACH! STOP THE MUSIC! Macho proffers that if the n.W.o want to turn the universe upside down, LET IT HAPPEN! He’s the evil necessity of WCW but tonight, he’s coming up to bat and is guaranteed to hit a grand slam, DIG IT! Mach says he wants to do what he does best and that’s beat Giant and then tear out Hogan’s black heart at HH. Tenay tries to tell him not to look past the Giant tonight, and Savage says he won’t because he’ll chop Giant down to size and send a message. THE MACHO MAN AND THE WCW WILL NOT BE DENIED!

Grudge Match: Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Giant. Despite being in the n.W.o, they cue up the Dungeon of Doom music for Giant before fixing it. Macho swarms Giant and backs him off the apron. Giant tries to step in and again Macho scares him off. Dusty points out that our ref is none other than Nick Phantom Neck Injury Eastbound and Down Patrick which will probably cost Macho. Giant tries to pull Macho out and Savages PUMMELS HIM! Tony: “SAVAGE FEARS NO MAN!” Macho fires up for a bodyslam on the floor but the back gives and Giant lands on top. That was red hot if completely predictable. Giant gathers him up and press slams Macho back in the ring. Giant throws him in the corner for some CLUBBINGBLOWS and BLATANTCHOKING. Brain speculates that Hogan is behind all this because he doesn’t want to face Macho at Havoc and he will throw all of them – Nash, Hall, Giant, etc. just so he doesn’t have to wrestle Macho. Giant with a slow backbreaker and bridges it into the usual submission. Meanwhile, Brain dials up the scenery chewing to really put over tonight and the stakes: “You know, if we stop the n.W.o tonight, it will really stop the wind in Hogan’s sails at Halloween Havoc. That’s why we’ve gotta get him tonight. If you’ve gotta go in the back RIGHT NOW AND GET ‘IM, GET ‘IM! THIS IS WAR, TONY! THIS IS WAR, THEN DRAG THEIR CARCASSES OUT HERE TO THE RING, LOWER THE CAGE, AND BEAT THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF THEM! THAT’S WHAT YOU’VE GOTTA DO!” Good stuff.

• Macho kicks his way free after being in the hold for a minute or so. Giant shakes it off and goes low with a big headbutt and rolls over Macho with a Boston Crab. Macho grabs the ropes and Giant poses like it’s over but Nick reasons with him so it must go on. Giant hoists up Macho for the bearhug as this match has been one failed bodyslam and three restholds and not even Brain can save it on commentary. Macho bites his way free and gouges the eye. Macho heads up top but Giant catches him and slams him down. Giant tries to finish off Mach with a knee but comes up dry. Mach goes to work on the knee and heads up again with a SUPER BULLDOG. He covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Macho scoops him up and HITS THE SLAM! The place erupts. MACHO ELBOW TIME! BUT WAIT! HOLLYWOOD HOGAN HAS ARRIVED! Macho hits the elbow and fires up but Hogan goads Macho down the aisle. Macho gives chase but SCOTT HALL! Macho ducks and lays him out! KEVIN NASH WITH A CHAIR! Nash DESTROYS Mach with a baseball swing and Savage goes down in a heap. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOW THEY’RE PUTTING THE BOOTS TO HIM, TONY! SOMEBODY FROM THE BACK, GET OUT THERE! Dust: “NICK PATRICK OUGHTA HAVE HIS LICENSE TAKEN AWAY FROM HIM!” The Outsiders drag Macho back and toss him in and Giant covers for an easy 1, 2, 3 at 7:18.

• Giant was still wretched, but Macho’s a wizard and always super over with everyone. The crowd was hot for his shine and comeback at the end and the overbooked ending was well done, if idiotic on Macho’s part. *3/4

• Meanwhile, Flair, Arn, and Luger are in the back with Tenay. Tenay wants to know which Horseman is taking Sting’s place tonight. Flair dodges for a minute solid of the usual. Before Arn can say much, Sting comes out and plays dumb. Luger says he was there face to face with him and looked him in the eye and knows that Sting screwed him. Sting walks out and says that if Luger can’t trust him, so be it.

WarGames: n.W.o vs. WCW. Representing n.W.o are Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hollywood Hogan. The n.W.o has a secret fourth member that won’t be revealed until his entrance. The WCW teammates are Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, and Ric Flair. WCW doesn’t have a fourth member since Sting turned his back. In case you’ve been living under a rock for thirty years or just WCW/NWA wasn’t your thing, let’s cover the rules. It starts out one-on-one for five minutes and then at two minute intervals another man joins the fray until it’s finally four-on-four. A coin toss decides the order and of course, the heels always win the game of chance. The only way to win is submission or surrender.

• Arn and Scott Hall to start. Hall has Ted Dibiase with him at ringside. Hall jumps on Arn with rights in the corner but Arn fights back with shots to the breadbasket. He tosses Hall into the cage already and the crowd is rolling along with each punch. Hall comes back with a clothesline to a mild Razor chant. He rakes the eye across the top rope and shoves AA’s head into the cage a few times. Brain, Tony, and Dust all marvel that they are cheering for the same guys as that’s never happened before. Arn clips the knee to come back and goes to work ANDERSON STYLE! Hall retreats to the second ring and comes back with haymakers and choking. Ref Nick Patrick gets right in Arn’s face and threatens to stop the match right now in a funny moment that has the crew up in arms. Arn with a big shot to the breadbasket that staggers Hall and now the Sleeper. Hall counters with a back suplex. AA counters a whip and lands the BIG SPINEBUSTER! He rolls Hall into the half crab.

Nash is next at 5:00 as the n.W.o win the coin toss again. Arn fights him off but Hall tackles him and Arn gets sent into the cage. Brain loses his mind pleading with Arn to overcome the odds for the good of the company.

Luger is out for WCW at 7:00. Luger blows through the Outsiders with the double, steel plated, bionic forearms and throws them into the cage as the crowd comes back alive. Luger scoops up Hall and tosses him into the cage but hangs on and does it again. Nash waffles him from behind to even the score. The heels get the advantage as Hall shoves Arn into the cage but that lasts no time as the faces come back and Arn hits a DDT.

Hogan enters at 9:00 and some change. Arn and Luger pounce and tear his shirt off to a pop. That’s short-lived as the Outsiders go to work on Luger and Hogan pounds down Arn. WEWANTFLAIRWEWANTFLAIRWEWANTFLAIR! Hogan gets the big Solar Polared Leg Drop on Arn and chokes away on Luger as the clock counts down.

Flair’s out late at 11:30 but Penzer and the clock are counting down so it’s their fault. Flair gets in the first ring and challenges the entire n.W.o to come over and meet him face-to-face. Hogan comes over with his assortment of cheap shots but Flair no sells and waffles him down with the LOADED KNUCKS! WOOOOOOOO! Of course, Nash is over to jump him but Flair counters with the BLATANTLOWBLOW! ONE MORE FOR HALL! Flair goes low on Hogan and applies the FIGURE FOUR! Luger and Arn have joined him to pair off with the Outsiders. Nash almost botches powerbombing Luger the way Sid did Brian Pillman but luckily doesn’t.

Stink aka Cobra aka n.W.o Sting is next at 13:30. But because he’s wearing the same attire as the real Sting from earlier and because they hadn’t beat it into the ground yet, it’s pretty convincing. Unless you consider the lack of close-ups of Sting and the crowd completely no selling “Sting” and chanting WEWANTSTING loudly. The heels take over and Hall hits an Outsider’s Edge on Arn. Hogan sends Flair into the cage dozens of times and hits another Death Defying Leg Drop. Stink hits a few Stinker Splashes on the WCW boys.

The real Sting is out to end the charade at 15:30. Sting pounds down the imposter and everyone else from the n.W.o. Sting hits several Stinger Splashes and smashes Hogan into the mat to large pops but Luger, Arn, and Flair aren’t helping him. Sting is disgusted and after proving his point, walks out telling Luger to shove it for not believing him earlier. That’s pretty powerful stuff. As soon as Sting leaves, Hogan’s legendary recuperative powers take over and Luger’s down for another Regenerative Leg Drop and a bite to the nose. Stink locks on the Stinker Deathlock and Hogan guillotines Luger at the same time. Nick Patrick calls for the dubious submission at 18:20.

• Different than the classic WarGames, there is no resolution here. It’s angle advancement; It continues the n.W.o stronghold and the Sting shift toward crow separatist. Like most of the show, the crowd was enthralled through most of it, popping for the face comebacks and booing the dastardly heels. However, this is also the first time the heels had ever won the match and would set the trend of a face team collectively never winning the match again. Flair in his epic shoot interview claimed that WarGames 1996 killed Winston Salem as a wrestling town. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but the n.W.o never losing deciding matches was not a long-term plan for success beyond the boom. ***1/4

Tony: “The only thing I can think of, if we had trusted Sting, had the wrestlers in the dressing room trusted Sting—-”

• Post-match, Luger crawls on his hands and knees up the aisle pleading in agony for Sting to come back and forgive him. STTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGGGGEERRRRR! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! The n.W.o put the boots to Luger as the Horsemen fight back with low blows. SAVAGE IS OUT! He tosses Hogan in the ring and corners him. Of course, the Giant trails in and waffles Savage from behind. ChokeSlam on Macho. Liz comes out to make the save and Hogan breaks out the spraypaint to rebrand Liz as n.W.o property. Hogan cuts a promo and then spits on Liz as the celebration goes on way too long. They take over the announce position and in honor of Tony hightailing it out, WE’RE OUTTA TIME! TUNE IN TO NITRO!

The 411: Mysterio and Calo throwing it all out there, The Nasties and HH in a stunningly good match, DDP continuing to be awesome, and a solid War Games with the Sting storyline making this a historically important show.
Final Score:  7.0   [ Good ]  legend

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Jack Bramma

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