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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Fall Brawl 1998

September 19, 2012 | Posted by Jack Bramma
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Ring Crew Reviews: WCW Fall Brawl 1998  

Scheduled Card:
1. Dancing Fools vs. Jim Neidhart and British Bulldog.
2. Norman Smiley vs. The Cat.
3. Brother vs. Brother: Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner.
4. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Silver King vs. Juventud Guerrera (c).
5. Raven’s Rules: Raven vs. Saturn.
6. Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko.
7. Scott Hall vs. Konnan.
8. WarGames

• We start off with a very low-tech video package highlighting the three WarGames teams of n.W.o Hollywood (Hogan, Stevie Ray, Bret Hart), n.W.o Wolfpack (Nash, Sting, Luger) and team WCW (Warrior, Piper, DDP). Yes, in case you didn’t know, WarGames this year is three teams instead of two, but each team operates as individuals and the sole person to score a pinfall (doesn’t need to be submission this year) becomes number 1 contender for a shot at the belt at Halloween Havoc. But more on that later.

• Tony, Brain, and Tenay try to talk about the new rules to WarGames but you can barely hear them because the raucous crowd is shaking the building with chants of “WE WANT FLAIR! WE WANT FLAIR!” See, Flair was taken off TV back in April of 98 and then got into a legal tug of war with Bischoff, but the case was settled by this point, so the crowd WANTS FLAIR. However, they would have to wait until the next night after Fall Brawl to see Flair reunite the Horsemen on Nitro. BUT WAIT!

• We cut backstage to some breaking news and it’s….. The Cat? WTF? He’s having a pull-apart brawl with… no one? Seriously, we start the PPV with a cutaway to Ernest Miller being held back by security for no reason?

• Mean Gene tries hyping up the card, but Chris Jericho, TV champ, comes out to big heat. Holy shit, they HATE Jericho. Jericho says he’s got a scoop that he’s been calling out Goldberg and tonight, Goldberg has finally accepted. GOLDBERG VS. JERICHO, TITLE VS. TITLE! Huge Goldberg chants follow. The whole reason why Jericho is able to tease this is because Goldberg isn’t even booked on the show. No match for your world champion. In case you think that’s some kind of minor oversight that would never happen twice, it did at WW3 the same year. Also, the previous month at Road Wild, the world champ was booked in a battle royal. Let’s face it, in Goldberg’s entire world title reign he had ONE feud that meant anything (DDP). July (Bash at the Beach) – squashes Perfect, August (Road Wild) – battle royal, September (Fall Brawl) – not booked, October (Halloween Havoc) – beats DDP but match is cut off at the end of the PPV, November (World War III) – no match, December (Starrcade) – loses to Nash. And people wonder why his title reign went nowhere.

Dancing Fools vs. Jim Neidhart and British Bulldog. Disco and Alex get separate entrances, but it makes sense because despite being a tag team and both wanting to dance, there was often friction over who was the better dancer. In one of those oddities, both Neidhart and Alex are wearing leather coats but thankfully they don’t feud over that. Disco and Bulldog trade poses to the crowd and Disco actually wins. Now, Alex and Bulldog to start and the crowd tells both of them to go to hell by chanting USA for… Disco? I guess? Maybe they’re chanting for the ref. Alex and Bulldog finally lock up. Alex wins with an armdrag and Bulldog claims he pulled the hair. The ref checks with Alex and he’s all NO NO, I CAME TO DANCE! EUROTRASH FTW! Man, I miss old Alex Wright. They lock back up and Bulldog goes to the forearms in the corner before Alex cuts him off with an eyepoke and some Euro uppercuts. Alex now with a shoulderblock only to run into a hiptoss and a press slam from Bulldog. Disco and Anvil now tag in. Anvil throws down Disco and then struts a bit of his own. Disco now falls prey to a rather lazy shoulderblock and then bumps across the ring for another even though Anvil is barely moving at all. Anvil mocks his dancing now but runs into a drop toe hold. Disco puts the boots to him to a pop. Disco now gives him crap about the goatee. Disco slides out of a press slam and hits Anvil with a knee lift. Anvil cuts him off by driving him into the corner so Bulldog can work him over. Bulldog and Wright both tag in. Alex with a few Euro uppercuts. Tony and Tenay want to pin down Bobby on a pick for WarGames and get rather belligerent about it so Brain has other ideas: “Well, now that you’ve yelled at me, forget it.” Wright stomps down Bulldog and dances some more to big jeers. Tony: “HE DANCED AWAY FROM IT! BIG CRITICAL ERROR THERE!” Alex with a monkey flip but Bulldog lands on his feet(!) only to get taken down with a leg lariat. Wright covers for 2 and then lights up Bulldog with some chops and a snapmare. Tenay transitions BACK TO WARGAMES! Bulldog cuts Alex off with a back elbow. However, Alex comes back with Tony’s favorite call, the elusive Foot to the Face! He tags in Disco who hits a MACARENA HAMMER off the top and covers for a 2 count.

• Disco with an atomic drop but Bulldog no sells and shitcans him out so Anvil can work him over. Anvil throws him into the guardrail. Back in, Bulldog takes down Disco with a knee and goes to the chinlock. Disco tries a sunset flip but Bulldog blocks only for Disco to just stomp his foot and run over him. These middle of the ring exchanges have been sloppy and that’s a bad omen as Bulldog now completely botches a flapjack on Disco as he falls short and eats it on the BOTTOM rope. Anvil in and throws Disco around by the hair. Brain finally settles on Piper as a pick and now Tenay and Tony are still giving him shit. Man, Bobby should haul off and bitchslap both of them. Anvil bites Disco as this is going on a bit long and the crowd is getting bored so they start chanting for Flair again. More foot to the face from Bulldog and Anvil covers for 2. Anvil tries the slowest ever slingshot shoulderblock and Disco easily avoids the split second hangtime. Disco makes the hot tag to Alex who hits a MASSIVE MISSILE DROPKICK! Bulldog in and he eats a Bluechipper dropkick. Alex with a backdrop and a slam. Anvil jumps Alex from behind blatantly and the ref does nothing. Bulldog goes for the Powerslam but Disco helps him slide out. Now, they want some BLATANTCHEATING right in front of the ref with a double shoulderblock, again to no admonishment. Disco in but he collides with Alex on some miscommunication. Bulldog takes a minute setting up the Powerslam before he finally hits it and covers for 1, 2, 3 to win it at 11:53. Man, I wanted to like this and so did the crowd but only one team was trying and they lost. The crowd was only into Disco and marginally into Alex for his shine at the end, but other than that, just a rather pedestrian tag match with the requisite botches and timing issues. Sadly, during this match, Bulldog would land awkwardly bumping on Warrior’s inane trapdoor and would almost get paralyzed. Then, he would get fired. This was his last match in WCW. **

• Meanwhile, we go to Mean Gene in the back. He says there’s a “dirty rumor” going backstage that Scott Steiner may NOT fight brother Rick Steiner tonight. Ahhhhhh, yes. This sacrilege of a feud that teased the blowoff 4 PPVs in a row without delivering and went on for almost a year. Scott turned on Rick back in February of 98 at Superbrawl to become White Thunder/Big Poppa Pump and join the n.W.o. This is SEPTEMBER and they still haven’t wrestled over that whole thing. They’d have a semblance of finality at Havoc where Rick would win the tag titles by himself and “beat” Scott but then they’d had another no contest at WW3 which was also… not followed up on at Starrcade. Nice.

• ANYWAY, Scotty has ice on his back and two band-aids on both sides of his bicep and he says “they are real.” This is funny and all but ONLY when it comes back to bite the heels in the ass, which it didn’t. Buff says they have a doctor’s note that prohibits Scott from competing. Mean Gene dragoons JJ Dillon into the scene. JJ promptly tears up the doctor’s orders and tells Scotty, like he told him at Road Wild if he doesn’t wrestle tonight, he’s forever barred from WCW. Mean Gene does a little Executive Committee-ing of his own and changes the stip to saying that Scott must WIN or else he’s banned for life.

Title vs. Title: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Goldberg (c). Jericho’s music goes on for a while before his crack security staff of Ralphus and a Jericholic Ninja escort him to ringside. Well, not at first; initially, they wind up at catering and then take a wrong turn out the backdoors. Jericho: “WHERE’S THE RING!?” Tony: “This is sad… this is so sad.” Then they have to start his music since the loop isn’t long enough. Awesome. Just like the above segment, this is abstractly entertaining, but that’s built on the expectation that Goldberg WILL kick his ass into next week in a few minutes, so it’s all worth it. Jericho finally makes his way out and wants his pyro to go off. Unfortunately, it’s a few small sparklers hilariously and Jericho sells how upset he is at the disrespect. BUT WAIT! DA MANNNN! Crowd explodes waiting for Goldberg. Errrrr… It’s Pyriteberg. Basically, a small Goldberg, very Gillberg-esque, another imposter. Tony: “This is a disgrace… Fans, I’m sorry. I know you were awaiting the arrival of the man himself… Fans, once again, I apologize. This is another disgrace at the hands of Jeri-shmo.” FUCK YOU!

• Jericho throws down Pyriteberg. C’MONNNNN BABY! Crowd chants Bullshit as Jericho hits a vertical suplex. C’MON BABY cover gets 1, 2, only 2. Crowd chants for the real GOLDBERG as the smaller one hits a Spear. Jericho no sells and takes him down with the Foot to the Face. Jericho hooks in the Liontamer and wins at 1:16. Post-match, Jericho tears apart the phoney’s foam belt. DUD

• Now, you may be asking yourself. Why is this a problem? Mainly, it’s on a PPV and when you consider the opening announcement and the entrance and match itself, it got roughly 15 minutes of PPV time. This is fine for a Nitro but not PPV. But, even if you keep it on this PPV and don’t move it to free TV, it still necessitates Goldberg demolishing Jericho at some point, so then you might be asking. How is this different than Rick vs. Scotty? 1. That went on much longer and many more PPVs. 2. There was no resistance or reason the Steiners couldn’t implode on PPV ANY TIME THEY WANTED! Jericho, unfortunately, was getting resistance from Bischoff and then from Goldberg himself (mainly because of Hogan and Nash getting in his ear, telling him this made him look weak). Instead, the whole thing was blew off without so much as a match when Goldberg Speared Jericho on Nitro. And that friends is just one of the many reasons, WCW died. It’s even more stupid in hindsight because GOLDBERG’S NOT ON THE SHOW! But that doesn’t stop WCW from advertising him on the VHS box as if he was there.

• Meanwhile, Rick Steiner is back at the “internet position.” Lee Marshall and his mustache lob a few softballs at Rick about Big Poppa Pump. Rick says he’s watching his brother all these years in their matches and he knows his brother’s weaknesses, so Scott BETTER LOOK OUT! What? Did Rick just retroactively say he was preparing to turn heel on his brother years ago?

• Tenay, as a representative of “WCW International TV,” is with the Armstrong brothers, Scott and Steve. What is this even doing on PPV? Cat interviews and says where’s all the TV time for the 3-time karate champ. Cat beats up both only for Smilin’ Norman Smiley to pull him away. Cat: “What’s your problem? YOU CAN’T DANCE WITH ME! I’M THE GREATEST! ARE YOU CRAZY?!” Well, in case you were left wondering why we started the PPV with the Cat, that was the reason – because he beat up the Armstrongs. For those of you scoring at home, that’s 2 PPV segments for Cat and zero for Goldberg.

Norman Smiley vs. The Cat. Make that 3. Cat gets the stick because he needs even more promo time to not get over. Cat says “by law” he has to warn Smiley that he could tear him apart in 5 seconds. Fortunately Cat pulls the race card to make nice (“You a brother, like I’m a brother”). He says he’s giving Smiley 5 seconds to get out of his ring. UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. This sucks hard. Ernest Miller might be my least favorite wrestler ever, the guy with the worst TV time to entertainment quotient for me. Norman no sells the 5 count and lays a few haymakers to Cat and a shitty dropkick and headbutt to start. Cat bails out and stalls for a bit. Smiley won’t back up so Cat gives him a superkick and throws him into the guardrail. Back in, Cat poses and chokes away to constant jeering of X-Pac heat. Cat no sells some stuff and hits a few kicks and chops to the throat. After some MT knees, Norman comes back with a back suplex. Norman with a leg drop and covers for 2. Tangent: one of my favorite parts of watching 90s wrestling is hearing the ring – the echoes, the bumps add ambiance to the show. But because of that trapdoor the ring sounds like shit and adds ZERO oomph to spots. Norman with a weak whip and Cat oversells and then begs off. Time to take this crap home. Rather than offer a shake, Cat offers the Black Power fist of unity and brotherhood to Norman. Smiley no sells Huey Newton only to get eyepoked. Cat with some more horrendous offense as the crowd tries booing them out of the ring. Cat goes to an armdrag only for Norman to take over with the pre-Big Wiggle slam to crickets. He tries pumping the crowd up but gets zero reaction. These guys are just drowning and need to take a hint. Smiley throws him into the turnbuckle a few times and hits a hanging vertical suplex that sounds like it landed on the concrete and covers for 2. While Smiley takes his time setting up this suplex, I watch the entire Bourne series of movies and come back to Norman throwing him down and trying some springboard Feliner off the top that barely connects. Cat throws him into the ropes and hits another awful Feliner and covers for the 1, 2, 3 at 5:07 but this felt like 30. AGONY, AGONY, AGONY! -**

Brother vs. Brother: Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner. This gets a video package that covers months including Scott saying he was tired of the n.W.o and instead it was Steiners 4 life only to turn on his brother again and get Bryan Adams to beat him up, he got Buff to con Rick into lowering his guard only to get beat up again, and finally Rick hitting Scott with a chair only for Scott to pretend to be on his deathbed at Road Wild. Funny, yes? But MONTHS of this? No. Here’s that encounter but it’s embedding has been disabled — WCW Road Wild 1998

• Brain: “There’s something that’s wrong with a man that barks. From the wrestlers I’ve known in my career and I’ve asked them about the Steiners, they all say Scott Steiner is the strongest of the Steiners, but Rick is the toughest. Scott is the meaner one and Rick is the dumbest.” Tony: “…Well I’m not so sure about that dumbest moniker you put on there at the end.”

• Scott bails out to start and then demands some room to get in the ring. They FINALLY collide in a slugfest and Rick wins that one. The crowd wakes up BIG TIME for a big Steiner-line and some GnP. Scott bumps across the ring selling a right. He tries a turnbuckle smash but Rick no sells and tosses him around some more. For a minute, I’m tricked into believing WCW will do this the right way because that first minute is an awesome collision. Scott bails out to boos and Rick throws him into the guardrail. Scott tries talking a walk through the crowd but Rick pounds him down some more. Back in, Rick wants a suplex but Buff distracts and Scott hits two BLATANTLOWBLOWS. Scott shitcans him out and throws him into the stairs. Back in, Scott poses to big heat and clubs down Rick with the LARIATO. HUH?! Rick blocks a suplex with a DDT. He heads up top but Buff cuts him off so Rick goozles him and throws him into the ringpost. See, Buff has a history of neck problems including Rick breaking several of his vertebrae on a botched bulldog, which Tony brings up so Buff is selling the goozle like a major injury. Scott tosses Rick back to the floor for a WEAAAAAAAAK shot into the ringpost. Rick and Scott continue slugging it out but Mark Curtis wants to stop the match because of Buff’s neck at 5:30. The fans start a very loud, audible “Bullshit” chant, but Tony and crew continue towing the company line saying that Buff indeed may be hurt. This whole charade goes on for TEN DAMN MINUTES. With more and more medical staff coming out before they get Buff on a gurney and carry his ass out. They put him in the ambulance only for Buff and Scott to come bailing out and jump Rick from behind and put the boots to him. I repeat, FUCK YOU!

• Blurring the lines with worked shoot, life-threatening injuries almost never works and only ends up pissing people off. It backfired on WCCW when they faked Fritz’s heart attack. It backfired on WCW when they faked Flair’s heart attack. And it backfired now. The only time that it ever didn’t backfire was when the Shawn faked his concussion off Owen’s enzuigiri. Crowd was hot for the 5 minutes of the match, but the segment is another colossal waste of time and viewers’ money. -*

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Silver King vs. Juventud Guerrera (c). The crowd lets out a collective “Who?” at Silver King’s intro. I’m sure they know he’s a jam up guy and a high-flyer of the highest magnitude but they just didn’t react at all. Tony has gone on a rant for the ages about Buff equating “Buff” as the new word for scum and that Buff has now personally slapped everyone in the face who’s going through spinal problems. Well, there ya go.

• Crowd is into Juvy at least. The Juice slides out of a suplex and chops down Silver King. Juvy goes to the armbar but SK rolls through and dropkicks him down. The crew tries to play down his physique while still commentating on it. Tenay says he’s RIGHT at the limit for the 225 lb cruiserweights. Brain says he looks “more like a Neidhart” than a cruiserweight. Silver King responds by telling the crowd to suck it but still no reaction. Juvy goes back to the chops so Silver King tries to chop him down by going to the hamstrings. After a criss-cross and go behind Juvy comes back with headscissors and SK goes down. Solid sequence in there. SK bails out and threatens to throw a chair at the crowd for no particular reason. SK slides back in but eats a springboard rana from Juvy and a clothesline. Juvy covers for 2. Not satisified with playing up SK’s weight, Tony now wants to say that Juvy has that “deceptive strength” which might be his way of saying the Juice is on the juice. SK flapjacks Juvy into a dropkick and kicks him around. SK then with a spinning hotshot into the ropes and then poses to mostly indifference. SK follows up with a snap tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Slick. Tenay, since even he can’t be bothered to give a crap, starts talking about how female tennis players compare to luchadores. SK with a MUSCLEBUSTER! But the crowd is just annoyed at this point and I hear the faintest “Goldberg” chant creeping in as SK covers for 2. King dropkicks him out and to the floor and then follows up with the springboard plancha. Some in the front row impress themselves and only themselves by shouting Taco Bell at SK. Back in, SK takes a minute setting up a backdrop into a sunset flip for Juvy but they botch it. SK pretends to go for a piledriver but then says fuck it and chops him instead. Tenay blames it on the brutality of botching a sunset flip and Brain gives us more of his ethnic humor: “It made the noise plancha.” These assholes repeat the spot for a THIRD TIME and finally get it as Juvy rolls him up for 2. That was horrible. One of the worst stretches of the night. Fall Brawl 98: The Night Kayfabe Was Killed Again. The crowd perks up anyway as Juvy mounts in the corner for the 10 punches. Now, Tony encourages everyone to violate FBI copyright laws: “Some of you fans, may videotape this and watch it at home, go back and watch that in slow motion. It’s absolutely spectacular.” And apparently not even noticing the world falling down around him, Tony declares the art of botching a sunset flip four times “a precise science.” Juvy pulls SK down by the hair and hits a missile dropkick off the top. Juvy covers for 2. Juvy baseball slides through but SK superkicks him down for 2. Brain: “If you look at the look on his face now, The King Fish is flustered.” No one even notices that he purposely screwed up his name as they go on about their business as SK whiffs on a Stinger Splash in the corner. Juvy follows up behind him and gives him a REVERSE RANA OFF THE TOP! That was sweet at least. Juvy covers for 1, 2, only 2. Juvy calls for the JuvyDriver but SK sandbags him into a small package for 1, 2, still 2. SK with a suplex but wipes out on the springboard quebrada. Juvy follows up with the JuvyDriver and THE JUICE IS LOOSE ON THE 450! Juvy covers for 3 to retain at 8:37. Last two minutes saved the match from Wrestlecrap territory. Still not very good but at least they were trying. **

• Meanwhile, Lee Marshall wants to know about how Konnan feels fighting his former stable-mate, Scott Hall. Konnan alludes to his well-known drinking problems and Hall interrupts with beer cup in hand. Hall throws a beer at him and now it’s on. Yes, in case you didn’t know, this is when WCW tried blurring the lines by bringing Hall’s very real battles with alcohol into a storyline – just like WWF did the previous year with Jake Roberts. Everybody, stay classy.

Raven’s Rules: Raven vs. Saturn. If you don’t know Raven’s Rules, it’s just a hardcore match. If Saturn wins, the Flock is disbanded. If Raven wins, Saturn is his slave for the rest of his career. This gets a video package. Saturn used to be in the Flock and this is toward the end of that. Saturn lost a match to Lodi where he had to be his slave until this PPV, but now Saturn is finally getting his chance at Raven. Raven “broke” Saturn’s fingers in the build up. In response, Saturn broke some of Kanyon’s fingers. The video package goes on for about 5 minutes. After all that, then we get a SPECIAL JUST ADDED STIPULATION, Kanyon will be handcuffed to ringside. JJ and apparently the entire WCW Executive Committee come out and induct some street justice by forcing Kanyon to come out and handcuff him to the turnbuckle. Why didn’t they do this AFTER Buff faked a broken neck to get Scott out of his match? Because they suck and are incompetent?

• After all this, Raven and Saturn both still cut promos in case anyone is trying to buy the PPV at home after missing the first 90 minutes. Raven suckers him into a hot shot and covers for 2 to start. Raven throws him into the corner and follows up with a Runaway Samoan Semi. Raven hits the Million Dollar knee lift and does the Snitsky taunt to mild boos. Raven with some overhand chops but Saturn comes back and boots him in the corner and hits a superkick to a pop. Saturn with an inverted atomic drop and a crossbody for 2 again. Saturn heads up top and hits the Money Splash and covers for 1, 2, still 2. Lodi distracts and Raven takes off with a hip check. Saturn blocks a suplex with some shots to the breadbasket and Raven sells it into the guardrail. Saturn follows out with the PLANCHA SUICIDA. Lodi sneaks Saturn from behind and throws him into the guardrail for some nice cheating. Back in, Raven with a snapmare and few second elbow drops for 2. Tony and Brain are speculating over whether the Flock would even want freedom if they were given it and that segues into trying to out-pun each other over sheep. Tony: “They are robotized sheep.” Brain: “Some of them wrestle not too baaahhhh-d.” Tony: “Trying to pull the wool over our eyes, aren’t you? Not going to happen.” Raven with a sunset flip but Saturn rolls through and cradles him for 2. Raven takes him back down with a clothesline. Raven applies the Sleeper but Saturn counters with a jawbreaker. Double KO spot for that and then Raven snapmares Saturn over a few more times. Saturn with a backslide for 2 and Raven boots him down again. Raven with the Snitsky taunt again. Tony: “Did you ever notice he had his tongue pierced?” Raven hits the Russian leg sweep and then bridges into a pinning sequence. He tries to force Saturn down but Saturn counters with the BLATANTLOWBLOW. Saturn still sells more and Raven charges him in the corner and then brings in a chair. Saturn hits the SWEEEEEEET drop toe hold into the chair. One of my favorite signature moves of all time. Saturn sells it like he busted up his face. BUT WAIT! THE FLOCK HAS COME OUT! They are carrying a table out. Sick Boy, Riggs, and H-Bomb try and set it up but Kidman turns on Raven with the missile dropkick. BIG POP!

• The Flock chases Kidman off. DVD ON RAVEN! The place comes UNGLUED! Lodi distracts the ref long enough for the pin to only get 1, 2, 2.9999999! The place starts chanting for Saturn. SATURNSATURNSATURN! Saturn with the T-Bone suplex and now he’s fired up. Another suplex and Raven goes down. Saturn with a springboard leg drop and covers for another 2 count. Saturn hits the Nail in the Coffin for 1, 2, still 2. Raven cuts him off with a small package but Saturn gets the armbar takedown and hooks in the RINGS OF SATURN! Lodi pulls Saturn off and that allows Raven to get back on the offense. Saturn through low blows Raven and crotches Lodi on the turnbuckle. Raven counters a whip and they bump the ref. Oh shit. Mickey Jay falls right next to Kanyon who promptly steals the handcuff key. THAT NO GOOD BASTARD! Kanyon unlocks himself while everyone is done. Kanyon hits the Flatliner and drapes Raven and THEN rehandcuffs himself and THEN revives Mickey Jay. Now, that’s some quality cheating. The place is groaning at the prospect of Raven winning. MJ counts 1, 2, 2.9999! Saturn with another low blow on Raven and picks up Lodi and gives him a DVD OFF THE APRON THROUGH THE TABLE! BUT RAVEN JUMPS HIM ON THE WAY BACK IN! EVENFLOW! Cover for 1, 2, 2.999999999999999999999999! The place is loving this. Saturn drives him into the corner and hoists him up for ANOTHER DVD! 1, 2, 3 TO END THE FLOCK AT 14:07! Man, that was electric. Not a good match in the classical sense but the crowd just came alive. After almost two hours of crap in front of them, they recognized solid storytelling when they saw it and were ready. Plus, there was just so much frustration and build for the Flock to be dismantled that this was a big release. Given all that, imagine how much the pop should have been for Goldberg or Sting beating Hogan to disband the n.W.o at some point. ***1/4 but with a louder crowd and hotter finish than some ****+ matches.

Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko. In one of the more questionable booking things about this PPV (and that’s saying a lot), this exact same match was on the Nitro the week before the PPV except it was a cage match. It ended in a screwjob so they follow it up with this. That’s right – they had the cage match first and then the standard match at the PPV. In fact, since I’m bored and this PPV is driving me crazy, let’s review that first.

*** Bonus Match: Steel Cage Match: Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko.*** Nitro 9/7/98. Curt has Rude in tow and sadly, he would pass away less than a year later. Tony and crew put over how this is the same building Arn Anderson was humiliated by the n.W.o parody. Tenay tries covering by giving away this match on free TV by saying this Sunday, it will be “TWO RINGS. TWO CAGES.” Unfortunately, neither of those are true for the regular matches before WarGames. Tony tries another track and says that Dean demanded the match on Thunder so he must be pissed off.

• Curt jumps him as he gets in the cage and stomps away. Curt with CLUBBINGBLOWS and talks trash early. Dean comes back with a drop toe hold to mild boos and now they slug it out. Perfect pokes him in the eye to take back over as Brain plays up the brutality of cage matches. Dean sneaks Curt with a back suplex and a leg lariat. Perfect cuts him off and then… tries hiding on the crossbar? Dean just pulls him down and slams him. Dean goes for a charge but Perfect moves and Dean plows into the ringpost and takes out his own shoulder. Perfect now goes to work on the bad arm and throws Dean into the turnbuckle bad-arm first. Nice. Perfect stays on the arm and drops a few knees on it. Perfect works a top wristlock for a while. The cameraman gets bored so he decides to spy on Rude and happens upon him trying to unscrew part of the cage awesomely. Rude spins on him and then piefaces the camera outta the way. Perfect comes down on Malenko with some STIFF boots and continues pounding on him. Tony says the reason Malenko is getting his ass and arm handed to him is because he has “too much emotion.” Perfect runs into a boot but still comes down on the arm with a double ax handle to stay on the offense. Tony then adds that “hatred is a prerequisite to be part of n.W.o Hollywood” which is quite the resume builder I imagine, especially if you want to work in DC or on Wall Street. Dean blocks a cage shot and appears to fall asleep on the top rope so Perfect karate chops him in the throat and tells him to stand up for the good name of Boris Malenko. Tony and Brain now argue who said that the cage would cut you first. Perfect with more rights and then gets pissed at the slow count because how would his devastating rights not keep Malenko down? Dean tries to fight back with the right hand and again comes out on the losing end as Perfect goes… back… to… the… arm. Yeah, this is dragging as Dean’s selling generally consists of getting stretched like he’s in Stu Hart’s dungeon and not much else.

• They collide on a shoulderblock and Perfect does a Flair Flop. Dean now no sells the arm and just starts pounding him until Perfect tries throwing him into the cage but Malenko blocks with the boot. Perfect paintbrushes him a few times and talks some trash. Perfect says that Malenko is going to have to man up if he wants to be in the Horsemen. Crowd starts up a Four Horsemen chant. Dean fights back but again goes down in a heap off some forearms. For such a legendary technician, Dean taking heat bores me to tears. Perfect with a knee lift and hooks in the armbreaker as we’re now back to the arm psychology. Malenko blocks as they’ve lost the crowd again through this very unimpressive cage match that shouldn’t even be in a cage. Perfect FINALLY launches Malenko into the cage like a lawn dart. Malenko gets pissed and no sells and catapults Perfect into the cage TWICE. Now, the crowd wakes up as we’re finally on target. Malenko wants the Cloverleaf but Perfect grabs the ropes. Perfect scoops him up for the slam but they bump the ref. Just to set up Stinko, Perfect tries a Figure Four so Malenko throws him into the cage and tries the Cloverleaf again. He locks it in. BUT WAIT! BISCHOFF AND THE TROOPS HAVE COME OUT! Bischoff unlocks the door and Rude storms in to waffle Malenko. A non-finish in a cage match. The ref recovers and calls for the bell at 12:21. NO! WORSE! A DQ IN A CAGE MATCH! YESSSSS! Rude shitcans the ref and then counts the 3 for Perfect to big boos, something that was lacking during the entire match. Perfect prepares the slam the door on Malenko’s head just like he did to Flair at 97 Wargames. BUT WAIT! MY GOODNESS, IT’S ARN ANDERSON! THE HORSEMEN ARE BACK! HE TAKES OUT RUDE AND PERFECT! THE SHIRT HAS COME OFF! Arn clubs Stevie Ray into next week and the n.W.o bails out to fight another day. **1/2 but with a ton of mitigating factors that really make it less. Now, back to this PPV.

Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko. Dean’s the one that comes hot out of the blocks this time and boots Curt to a pulp. Hennig bails out but Malenko gangtackles him and goes to work on the leg. Crowd is pissed and decides now is the moment to shout that WEWANTFLAIR! Malenko with a sweet dropkick into the guardrail on Perfect’s knee. Rude tries to waffle him from behind but Malenko ducks out of the way and boots him down too. Much hotter, crisper start already than the Nitro cage match. Malenko wraps Perfect’s knee around the ring post to a pop but no admonishment from the ref. Back in, Malenko now starts destroying Perfect’s knee. Perfect tries a slam but the knee buckles and Malenko falls on top and goes to some GnP. Malenko with a standing toe hold and WONDERFULLY Rude slams the apron and the ref gets momentarily distracted long enough for Perfect to poke Malenko in the eyes. That was beautiful and should be studied by guys that want to be heels yet don’t understand the dance between heels and refs. Perfect tries some chops but Malenko clips the knee again and Perfect sells like a champ. He hobbles around and goes down. Malenko wants the Cloverleaf but now Kurt with the BLATANTEYEPOKE in front fo the ref. Well, you can’t win them all. Perfect does the awesome headscissors stomp and STILL sells the leg. Malenko drops a few knees and hits a kneebreaker but the crowd is giving them shit. This is psychology-heavy and they’re a bit down after being red hot for Saturn-Raven but this is still solid. Perfect crawls to the floor in agony still selling the leg. Rude tries helping Perfect to the back to take a countout loss but Malenko jumps them from behind and sends Perfect into the stairs. Dean’s working very heel here. Back in, Perfect begs off and he’s all FOUR HORSEMEN 4 LIFE! Malenko no sells stable allegiance and dropkicks the leg out again. Perfect: “OH GEEZZZZZ! GOD!” Dean applies a leg grapevine but Rude helps him get the ropes. Malenko pulls him back to the middle and now applies a toe hold. Perfect awesomely headscissors him over and kicks his way free. Malenko no sells and hits a back suplex and wants to go in for the kill. Rude tells him to have a heart and tries to buy sympathy by kicking Malenko in the back. Perfect with a haymaker and wants the PerfectPlex but the knee gives out. Malenko tries to take it home and steal his move by hitting a Fisherman Suplex of his own. Rude’s had enough and boots Malenko into next week to save his friend for the DQ at 7:40. Call me crazy but I side with Rude on this one. Perfect could barely walk and tried taking a countout but Malenko forced him to continue, so he gets what he deserves. Of course when you take into account Nitro and the cage match, that changes things a bit. ANYWAY, Rude and Perfect team up for the combo flapjack ribbreaker. BUT WAIT! IT’S THE ENFORCER! ARN ANDERSON IS ON HIS WAY! But then again, he’s old and retired so gets waffled by Perfect and beatdown as well. Rude holds him down and Perfect breaks the arm with a curb stomp! FOUR FINGERS DOWN! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Of course, this would all lead to Flair returning the next night and reforming the Horsemen officially. Both guys are awesome in the ring but Perfect’s selling > Malenko’s selling and Malenko’s psychology is at least equal to Curt’s psychology in his prime but definitely better in 98 so it was smart to switch roles as this is better than the cage match even with another DQ. **3/4

Scott Hall vs. Konnan. This is n.W.o vs. n.W.o. Hollywood vs. Wolfpack. Chico vs. Centaurion. A fake Cuban vs. a real one. Vincent is out first and he looks behind him worried where Last Call is. Hall goose steps out and brings a drink with him. I just want to reiterate using someone’s real life problems as apart of a storyline in this form disgusts me, but we’ll move on. To show he’s a true method actor, Hall gets in the wrong ring and poses on the turnbuckle. Hall gets the stick. HEY YO! Hall does the survey, but not before having another drink. The crowd gives him jeers as this whole thing goes on for a bit and Tony keeps burying him on commentary. Konnan now steals the stick too. DAMMIT! Stop cutting promos before the match. That is so bush league and gets more and more that way the more people that HAVE to cut promos. Konnan goes through his usual shtick and rips off Master P. He brings up NC State and their Wolfpack which is great and everything except their in Winston and their team is Wake Forest, an in-conference opponent with NC State. Fuckers. It’s just TWO OF THEM and this amateur hour, open mic night has dragged on for 10 minutes. Let’s get a move on.

• The bell rings but Hall ducks out to the other to stall some more and taunt Konnan. Konnan follows and then Hall does it AGAIN. Hall does the toothpick throw which admittedly is still over with everyone but Konnan tells him to suck it and gets a bigger pop. Hall grabs his arm for some shoulder surges and then straddles his back. Konnan no sells, clubs him down, paintbrushes him, and tells him to suck it again. Whoa. The crowd suddenly EXPLODES with a LOUD Wolfpack chant. They trade arm work again and the crowd still eats it up. Hall wants a Test of Strength only he keeps switching hands like he’s asking Konnan to dance. Konnan no sells the tango and waffles him down. Konnan with the rolling Lariato and another handful of nutsack. Hall tries taking a walk but Konnan chases him down and boots him down between the rings. Tony: “WE’VE NEVER SEEN THAT!” Hall ducks under the ring. Vincent distracts but Konnan still sniffs out Hall trying to sneak him from behind. Hall continues playing drunk and counting along with the ref but still stepping back in at 9. MOARSTALLING! Hall hooks in an anchor hold because he’s blown up from a clothesline and pretending to be drunk. They stay on this boring pile of whatever as the crowd is distracted by a more entertaining fight off-camera in the crowd. Konnan’s going to reverse it. YESSS! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Hall reverses back. UHHHHH! Even Brain and Tony are getting antsy. Brain: “He’s had this on Konnan quite a while.” Tony: “I don’t really think it’s a submission hold; it’s one to weaken him and then move on to something else.” Yes, can we please move on to something else? Seriously, in the last FIFTEEN MINUTES of this PPV, we’ve seen like 3 moves. 2 clotheslines and this secret handshake. Konnan reverses it as they still have the crowd with them amazingly. Hall traps the ref and low blows Konnan behind his back and covers for 2. Hall follows up with the snap ab suplex and another nearfall. MOARRESTHOLD! Hall hooks in the ab stretch and rather than cheat, he gets a drink first from Vincent and then uses the top rope for leverage. OK, that’s funny but this still sucks. Konnan runs off and hooks Hall in the same move. Hall hiptosses him over but then whiffs on a few elbow drops ripping off Hogan in the process. Hall stumbles around the ring drunk and punch-drunk. Hall comes back with a clothesline of his own. The fans are yet again distracted by a brawl in the crowd. Hall with a super back suplex. He calls for the Outsider’s Edge but first, Last Call. Konnan recovers, punts the drink into the crowd, and hits the X-Factor. Tequila Sunrise and Hall is done at 12:01. With entrances, this is like 20 minutes and it’s pitiful. It’s entertaining for about 2 minutes and even that isn’t very good. ½*

WarGames: Team Hollywood (Hollywood Hogan, Stevie Ray, Bret Hart) vs. Team Wolfpack (Sting, Kevin Nash, Lex Luger) vs. Team WCW (Diamond Dallas Page, Warrior, Rowdy Roddy Piper). Alright, so ordinarily, WarGames is a blowoff to a stable feud – it’s a two ring cage match with two teams of four with alternating entrances all the way down to the last man and you can ONLY win by submission. In fact, it was also used as an opportunity to get the stable’s manager in the match because he along with the heels had been ducking challenges and escaping punishment all year. Sounds awesome, right? Well it is awesome. Unfortunately, this ain’t that.

• Instead, it’s 3 teams of 3 and the first one to score a pinfall at any point during the match is YOUR number 1 contender to Goldberg. Yeah. 5 minutes for the first period and then 2 minutes for each interval afterward.

• Just because I’m a completist, here’s Warrior’s return to a loud pop and then a promo that shattered my childhood memories of him.

• DDP and Bret first by virtue of “random drawing.” I always love those illusory wrestling explanations for things. I don’t watch wrestling for reality, but it’s always wonderfully appreciated when wrestling tries at least gesture in the direction of reality. We get the announcement right now that Goldberg will face Sting tomorrow night on Nitro for the strap. GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Why not put that on a PPV like say.. THIS ONE! Put Konnan in the WarGames instead. Or book Goldberg-Jericho like they teased. Why would Sting even go through with this match knowing he gets one for free tomorrow? ANYWAY, Bret works over DDP by going to the arm. DDP switches and then goes over Hart with a shoulderblock. They smack it out and DDP wins that one. They trade hiplocks before DDP hits a belly to belly suplex for 2. DDP goes for the Diamond Cutter but Bret bails into the corner and then hits him with Snake Eyes. Nice. Bret with a DDT. Bret chokes DDP a while to buy time. DDP tries some fists of fury in the corner but Bret ignores and hits the Black Hart backbreaker and the low blow headbutt. DDP with an armbar takedown as Tenay puts over how DDP is former US champ but has his sights set on the world title. Bret with a Russian legsweep for 2. Bret with a small package for 2. as well. Bret continues throwing DDP around only to eat a DISCUT LARIATO as Stevie Ray is next.

• Crowd boos that because who’s ever cheered Stevie Ray? Just think though. Less than a year later, he’d be fighting Virgil for control of ALL of n.W.o Hollywood. Stevie in and puts the boots to DDP and hits him with a few haymakers and goes to the BLATANTCHOKE to exhaust his moveset and complete the generic heel trifecta. DDP with a double clothesline as this segment is already over or maybe it’s not. I blacked out the last 90 seconds of Stevie Ray being in the main event. Have no fear, Sting is next and the crowd comes alive.

• Sting and Stevie Ray peel off to the first ring. Stevie begs off to the second ring after an ass-kickin’ so Sting follows him over with a HUGE STINGER SPLASH PLANCHA! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~! DDP now with a low blow on Bret. Sting continues carrying Stevie like he’s Booker T. Sting rams him into the cage as Bret hits a piledriver. Hot Rod is next at 9 minutes.

• Piper goes crazy and hits everyone including DDP who is his “team captain.” Piper gets mild boos for that. And see, THAT’S the problem. No one was clamoring for Piper and DDP to throw down. I get this is for the “world title” and all that, but no one wanted to see that. Instead, it is greeted with a firm and collective groan at Piper’s inane stupidity. WCW was always booked to look more stupid and weaker than the n.W.o and this is just another reason why. All night long, people WANTED to see Rick kick Scott’s ass and Flair come back to kick Bischoff’s ass and Goldberg to kick Jericho’s ass and Warrior come out to kick Hogan’s ass or hell for BRET to kick Hogan’s ass and NONE OF THOSE HAPPENED! Only Saturn got to kick Raven’s ass which was easily the highlight of the night. Instead, we’re seeing the main event rise of Stevie Ray and Piper brawling with DDP. But I digress. Piper no sells an eye poke to bite Stevie’s nose. Stevie then chops him in the throat only for Sting to shitcans him BETWEEN the rings. DDP and Piper collide again and Piper lays him out. Lex Luger is our next entrant.

• Luger now jumps on Stevie Ray and hits the bionic, nuclear, atomic forearm of death and pestilence. Luger goes to work on Piper now. Stevie jumps him from behind but Luger no sells and tosses him. This is like a Royal Rumble at this point because there’s been zero cage violence other than Sting going wild on Stevie and surprise, surprise, that was the biggest reaction of the match. Piper no sells a crotch on the top rope and he and Stevie escort each other over to the first ring. Bret with an atomic drop on Luger as Piper goes to the Sleeper on Stevie. Kevin Nash is out at 13 minutes.

• He gets a big pop and starts tossing around Piper and calling for the Jackknife on DDP. BUT WAIT! HOLLYWOOD HOGAN HAS SNUCK OUT! He tip toes in the cage a full minute early and he’s got the SLAPJACK! IT’S APOCALYPSE NOW! THE HORROR, THE HORROR! Hogan lays out Nash and Piper with the international object. Luger has Bret racked but Hogan breaks it up. Hogan then turns on Bret and waffles him and Stevie clips his knee. Yes, Bret was on Hogan’s team but reluctantly and well, it’s every man for himself anyway, except for Stevie, because Disciple, Vincent, and Bischoff aren’t here to be Hogan’s hype men. The fans are shocked and awed to put it mildly by Hogan screwing yet another WCW main event. Hogan and Stevie do nothing for a minute. WHY DON’T THEY PIN SOMEONE?!?! Why even make the rules pin anytime if you know you’re going to have a spot where two guys try NOT to pin anyway? Tenay: “It’s all beginning to make sense!” Hogan legdrops Nash and then talks trash to everyone. Hogan hits another Atomic Legdrop for good measure. BUT WAIT A MINUTE! THE RING FILLS UP WITH SMOKE! Brain and Tenay sell it on commentary by getting choked up despite the fact they’re half the building away. True artists those guys. IT’S THE WARRIOR! He promptly gets tackled by Hogan and piefaced into the mat. BUT WAIT! ANOTHER BLAST OF THE SMOKE! Hogan grabs the coat of Warrior but Warrior has DISAPPEARED! Or an imposter in Warrior’s jacket has disappeared through the trap door, but who’s keeping track? Now the Ultimate One himself comes storming out at 17 minutes to a solid reaction. He and Hogan had yet to make Baby Jesus cry by their carcinogenic spectacle at HH.

• Warrior cleans house only to SELL FOR STEVIE RAY! WTF?! Brain: “THIS MAY BE THE END OF WARRIOR!” If you’re bring in a guy for like a million bucks for 3 month’s work, you have Stevie Ray mow his yard to get him to come down to $750,000; you do not have Stevie Ray even breathe on him in the ring unless it’s to get Jackhammered and sent to the showers. Regardless, Warrior continues selling Stevie Ray’s devastating rights so Hogan can slink out of the cage with Disciple Beefcake Omega’s help. Warrior Warriors up but it’s too late as Hogan and Disciple now lock the cage and waffle the ref. Hogan continues sticking by ringside to sell? Or talk trash? Or just generally be a dick until Warrior boots his way out of the cage and chases him to the back. Again, admittedly, to a pop. They brawl but security breaks them up. Everyone now miraculously comes to and DDP DiamondCuts Stevie and pins him to become number 1 contender at 20:07.

• I’ll lay it all out there: I don’t think the story here is bad, I really don’t. Hogan’s a cheater and a crook and he wants every leg up possible. Stevie’s an empty singlet, yes man who’ll do anything to please Hogan. Piper’s crazy. DDP’s savvy and gritty. Bret’s a reluctant tweener. Luger’s a mercenary and the Wolfpack is currently signing his checks. Sting was tired of seeing the n.W.o always come out ahead so he couldn’t beat them and decided to join them. Nash has the book and is big and sexay. Warrior’s a magician who does it all for destrucity. I get all of that so everyone’s actions within the story of the match made sense. But it’s still such an underwhelming idea to let Hogan screwjob his way out of doing another job and having to be the most clever, diabolical guy in the history of history. Also, it involves 5 minutes of your main event with everyone laying around selling a WEAK beatdown while Hogan decides not to pin. Why couldn’t he have used a crowbar, chair, ring hammer, ring bell, flaming branding iron, cast, vinyl record, television set, fire extinguisher, ANYTHING other than a big, black, spoon that might as well be invisible from the cheap seats? The reason why everyone still uses trash cans, cookie sheets, kendo sticks, and chairs still after 30 years or so instead of ether-soaked rags or fuckin’ SLAPJACKS is because of three things: 1. they’re easy to see from the cheap seats 2. they’re easy to hear from the cheap seats and 3. they don’t hurt that much when smacked against the back. So while this match succeeds on the extremely, minute, infinitesmal footing of “story,” it fails big-time on entertainment value and as a way to blow-off to anything or to build up a championship challenge. *3/4

The 411: There are TWO good matches on the entire PPV and only one above ***. If there was a fifth rider of the Apocalypse, it'd look something like this PPV.
Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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Jack Bramma

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