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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Fall Brawl ’93

May 15, 2006 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Fall Brawl ’93  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Fall Brawl ’93

Hello, WCW, this is Ric Flair. I won’t be able to be bothered tonight so I’m phoning this one in…

1993 was the first year for Fall Brawl. With the company restructuring its PPV schedule and Wrestlewar being one of the shows to disappear the decision was made to create Fall Brawl in order to have a show to carry on the tradition of War Games. For anyone interested here’s how the PPV schedule changed from 1992 to 1993;

1992 – Superbrawl (Feb), Wrestlewar (May), Great American Bash (July), Beach Blast (July), Halloween Havoc (Oct) and Starrcade (Dec).

1993 – Superbrawl (Feb), Slamboree (May), Beach Blast (July), Fall Brawl (Sep), Halloween Havoc (Oct), Battlebowl (Nov) and Starrcade (Dec).

Slamboree had a lamer formula than Wrestlewar so they went to pep up September with a more entertaining show. The following year Beach Blast was killed off in favour of Bash at the Beach. WCW also debuted Spring Stampede although the show didn’t catch on properly until 1997. I’m not doing Battlebowl by the way because the show is a complete waste of time. 1995 saw WCW expand its PPV schedule by adding Uncensored and World War III. I can’t remember a good show under either of those banners. Uncensored was notoriously awful. Hog/Road Wild joined us in 1996 and nWo PPV Souled Out was added to January of 1997. WCW attempted some re-branding near their demise. World War III was booted out to be replaced by the more generic Mayhem. Into its dying months WCW promoted shows like Sin and Greed. It’s almost like WCW was promoting shows based on the various reasons why they were going out of business.

September 19th 1993. We’re in Houston, Texas at the Astro Arena. Hosts are Fat Tony & Jesse Ventura wearing one of the most sparkly jackets, ever.

TV title – Ricky Steamboat (c) v Steven Regal w/Sir William

Seeing as its War Games tonight we have two rings. Buffer announces Regal as being “the very dapper” Lord Steven Regal. Steamboat has taped ribs thanks to a vicious umbrella attack. Steamboat starts fast regardless and this goes out to the ramp. Back inside and Steamboat connects with a diving chop but he sells the ribs on the landing. Regal goes right into that ribcage. They brawl a bit but Steamboat takes it to the mat with a hammerlock. Oh, this is nice. Steamboat is selling the ribs like he’s lucky to get any offence in, which is just awesome. Steamboat fakes Regal out by playing possum and then does a great rolling short arm scissors. Regal knees him in the ribs for that but Steamboat goes right back to the arm with knees and this is turning into a body parts duel. Steamboat tries for a few roll up’s but is having trouble holding Regal down with bad ribs. Flying crossbody gets 2 and Steamboat gets on the arm again. Regal powers Steamboat up in an amazing show of power but Steamboat holds on and rolls Regal over with the short arm scissors again. Regal backdrops Steamboat onto his bad ribs. Regal bashes at the ribs some more and hits a running senton before crossfacing Steamboat to stretch his back out. Hey, Steamboat is tapping out! Good job for Regal this isn’t a TV match because the 10 minutes is up that was normally be the distance for a TV title match but we’re on PPV so they’re cool still. Steamboat does a running splash but gets knees into those injured ribs again. Regal does a version of a Torture Rack but Steamboat slides out. Regal straps up a half Mexican Surfboard, which was probably a screw up but a second can’t get Steamboat all the way up either so many it was deliberate. Regal removes the taping from the ribs. Butterfly suplex gets 2. Steamboat catapults Regal into the buckles to buy himself some time. He goes for a follow up slam but Regal falls on top for 2. Regal looks for a Tombstone but Steamboat gets out and reverses into his own, albeit rather tame looking, Tombstone. I like that it’s called a Tombstone universally by this point. Steamboat chops away for 2. Steamboat hits a suplex for 2. High crossbody should finish it but Steamboat keeps rolling and can’t get a quick pin because of the bad ribs. Steamboat tries to skin the cat but Sir William bashes him with the umbrella and Regal finishes him off with a German suplex at 17.03. ***1/4. Good way to start the show off with lots of solid wrestling and good psychology. It never quite hit the higher gear thanks to Steamboat being so “injured” coming into the match but it was still good.

Big Sky v Charlie Norris

Big Sky’s former gig in WCW was as Nitron. In terms of the bigger picture you should know him better as Tyler Mane, the guy who played Sabretooth in the X-Men movie. He looks almost exactly like Chris Jericho here, only much taller. Norris has the Injun gimmick but looks too young and green to be any good. I’ve never actually heard of him so I’d have to go out on a limb and presume he did nothing else of interest in his career. “We want Flair” chants the crowd who are quite blatantly not interested in this. Norris works at an armbar for a few minutes. Big Sky’s offence is equally weak and consists almost entirely of pounding and looking green as hell. Chokeslam scores. Legdrop and Sky chokes away instead of trying to pin. How either of these guys are on PPV is beyond me. Norris finally finds something he can do by hitting one chop before doing a lame Tatanka war dance that no one cheers. Lame kick finishes at 4.33 for Norris, who for my money was by far the least marketable of the two guys. Not that either man was anywhere near PPV level. DUD.

Paul Orndorff/The Equalizer v Too Cold Scorpio/Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Bagwell dancing is embarrassing. I remember Bagwell & Scorpio being quite the entertaining babyface duo. Scorpio gestures that they want the belts. Evad shows off just how useless he is with a terrible looking charge that misses. He roughs up Bagwell with some lame looking shit. Bagwell bounces off him a few times. Hey, Bagwell is doing the hard work! But then with Evad he has to do the carry job. In comes Scorpio and they do some crowd pleasing double teams finishing in a double dropkick. Scorpio gets picked off and Orndorff goes to town on him. Scorpio still manages a high crossbody but Orndorff rolls through it for 2. Bagwell comes in with a nice floatover suplex on Orndorff for 2. Bagwell is a regular wrestling machine today. Evad picks him off and slams him on the floor. Bagwell comes back with a sunset flip with Orndorff doing the awesome sell on it but he blocks it and punches Bagwell in between the eyes. Hey that’s every man’s dream right there. Punching Bagwell right between the eyes. Including Rage. Although he credits Bagwell with getting him into wrestling because he enjoyed watching Vader beat the shit out of him. Bagwell with a back suplex on Orndorff. Bagwell is too quick for Evad and hot tags Scorpio in. Scorpio hits a high crossbody on Evad for 2 and everyone spills in for a brawl. The faces get a beating and I was hoping the hot tag to Scorpio would be leading to the finish. Orndorff accidentally high knees Evad and Scorpio flips onto the ropes for the 450 SPLASH and you’d better believe that finishes at 10.44. So the hot tag did lead to the finish. Bonus. *1/2. Finish was pretty entertaining. Everything else was formula and not even good formula.

PROMO TIME – Steven Regal & Sir William. Bill claims they’re going to England to be congratulated by the Queen. Dundee’s “English” is merely a toned down Memphis. Regal tells us he’s a lord and a gentleman. If you can’t trust him, who can you trust?

Shanghai Pierce w/Tex Slazenger v Ice Train

WCW’s graphics people spell Shanghai, “Shanghi”, which is pretty embarrassing. So who’ve we got out here; Pierce went on to become Henry Godwinn. He didn’t forget his old buddy Tex who came in eventually as Phinneas and was later Mideon. Ice Train went on to become MI Smooth in later years. For anyone who remembers MI Smooth and Henry Godwinn will know the quality of this before we even get going. Shanghai is masked, Train isn’t. CHOO CHOO!

FUCK. I failed to save this document and my PC crashed after I’d reviewed the entire rest of the show. This is frankly an enormous irritation. Especially considering how bottom feedingly awful the rest of the show is and how creative I had originally been in my abuse of Paul Roma. Sadly I can’t remember it so I’ll have to do the show again. Fuck it all.

Luckily there’s not a lot to recap and I spent most of the first time around taking the piss out of how dull the show was. Ice Train finishes this up after 3.27 with a powerslam after running through an attempted double team with a bull rope. DUD.

WCW tag titles – Horsemen (c) v Nasty Boys

Nasties bring out Missy Hyatt, which was supposed to be a surprise isn’t really a shock considering all the Disney tapings had her on their side and were already in the can. As the champions I might add. So the crowd is less than surprised and one fan even has a sign calling Hyatt “nasty” or words to that effect. Nasty would probably be right as she looks like a $2 whore by this point. Some fans amuse me by actually throwing dollar bills at her. And there’s the “crack whore” chant. This match is incredibly ill conceived. There are two monstrously long heat segments on the two babyface Horsemen. First Paul Roma gets beaten up for 10 minutes, then Arn Anderson gets beaten up for 10 minutes. Both segments are unbelievably boring. To finish up Roma gets a hot tag but Arn has to wander around the ring slowly for the contrived finish where Roma gets caught with an elbow to the back of the head while he’s pinning after a top rope splash at 23.58. If you think I’m watching this piece of shit again you’ve got another thing coming. Suffice to say both of the Nasty Boys looked fucking awful, Missy looked worse and the Horsemen were made to look like idiots. I originally went -** on the rating but that might actually be a little on the generous side. Shame I lost the original recap where the lengthy time limit gave me ample opportunity to really complain about how useless everyone in this was, apart from Arn. I also went off on a tangent about how Jerry Saggs was in my top 10 least favourite wrestlers of all time. At least he had the decency to retire before Knobbs did. I also had an amusing little aside on how Knobbs called a fan at ringside a “fuckin’ idiot”. How dumb would you have to be to get called an idiot by Brian Knobbs? You’d probably have to have all your clothes on backwards and singing “I’m the backwards man, the backwards man” instead of watching the match. Not that I’m saying Knobbs is a moron but I think Hogan Knows Best was quite the revelation as to how bright he really isn’t.

Cactus Jack v Yoshi Kwan

This is the big comeback match for Cactus after the Lost in Cleveland amnesia angle. Kwan is Chris Champion in a lame Asian gimmick. The fake eyebrows are particularly bad. Speaking of bad, this match is. Kwan gets most of the offence, which is exactly what the crowd had no interest in seeing. That Eric Bischoff, always in touch with his fanbase. Cactus clothesline takes the action outside but Harley Race distracts allowing Kwan to get back in charge. That doesn’t last and Cactus takes the win with the Double Arm DDT at 3.38. Call it 1/2* as only the finish really delivered. Cactus was next up for Vader and needed to be more convincing against a guy dressed up as an Asian. He should have visualised himself wrestling Shinobi or Avatar. Then it would have been over in seconds. Post match Jack assaults Harley Race for a measure of revenge and gets back his little bag. I don’t recall what was in the bag. Oh, pre-match they showed a recording of Cactus Jack cutting an awesome promo about how all the Lost in Cleveland stuff was a joke that none of the fans actually bought but Race & Vader bought it because they wanted to and it was all mind games on the part of Cactus Jack. Good stuff from Cactus as he managed to destroy all of WCW’s crummy work in one promo and make himself a legitimate threat to Vader again.

NWA title – Ric Flair (c) v Rick Rude

Quite how this match can have been as bad as it was is a shock to most people. The psychology is painful to deal with. Flair goes right after the leg and hooks up the Figure Four inside of two minutes. Rude sells it like crazy but gets the ropes to survive. Flair himself is selling a bad neck going into the match thanks to a Rude Awakening on the set of a Flair for the Gold a few weeks previous. You’d think from this point it’s a simple battle of one body part versus the other. So obviously Flair spends the next 10 minutes working over Rude’s arm. This is made all the more appalling by Rude selling it on one failed slam attempt and then forgetting about the injury altogether. But surely Rick Rude isn’t going to screw up the same way? Not in the same match. Surely. So Rude spends a while working over Flair’s back. This sort of makes sense because Flair’s weak spot has always been the back but he, the commentators, and Rude were all specifically selling the neck aspect of the match going into it. Now, suddenly, it’s a non-factor. What is a factor is Flair’s maid Fifi who accompanies him to ringside. She’s heavily involved in the finish but we’ll talk about that later. Her first important act is to merely stand at ringside while Jesse Ventura goes off on a misogynistic rant about how women belong in the home and Fifi is nothing more than a domestic appliance. He gets so worked up about it and so sexist (telling us Fifi should be where all women belong “barefoot and pregnant”) that the female sound mixer cuts his mic off. Ventura continues to rant loudly while Fat Tony chuckles to himself and calls the action. That helps brighten up an otherwise tedious opening half of the match. Just when you think this match can’t get anymore boring and based on rest holds Rude goes and hooks up a BORE-HUG, which goes on for some time. I get the feeling one day they’ll be DVD technology that allows you to just skip things you hate. And the first thing I’ll eliminate from my DVD’s will be the bearhug. It’ll get most Sid matches down to under 2 minutes for starters. It’ll also clip 5 minutes off this already bloated outing. I probably wouldn’t be as offended if it weren’t for the fact that both of these guys are so phenomenally gifted. As I pointed out earlier the psychology is all over the place and it gets a bit wackier as Flair hits the Rude Awakening but Rude is too close to the ropes to lose to it. Two things spring to mind – 1. If Flair was the amazingly talented ring technician that he should be he shouldn’t be allowing Rude to be in such good ring position for the pin and he certainly shouldn’t hook up a pin without first pulling Rude away from the ropes or at the absolute least hooking the far leg. 2. How is any of this relating to the 10 minutes of now forgotten arm work? Perhaps he was setting up his patented Figure Four Armlock. Um. Anyway, Flair spends 25 minutes not thinking about winning and then remembers his finisher involves the leg and FINALLY goes after Rude’s lower left limb. This is all to no avail because Rude has his big fistdrop off the top cued up. That gets a near fall and Rude turns his attentions to Fifi, I told you she’d factor into this again. He drags her into the ring and her painfully slow exit allows Flair time to hook up the Figure Four, Rude time to pull out the old International Object (brass knuckles) and Flair gets bashed in the noggin. All while Fifi moves 2 feet to her left. Yeah, it’s not as bad as Arn Anderson being made to look like an idiot with the overbooking on the tag title match but it’s still pretty stupid. Fifi traumatised or not, should still be able to get out of the ring in less than 30 seconds. Rude picks up the pin at 30.47. **. I could easily have gone lower because the psychology is a mess and it’s especially shocking from Flair when he’d got the Figure Four right at the start and never followed up on it. This whole thing sucks big hairy donkey balls. And comes back for second helpings. At least the lengthy rest holds that make up 90% of this match are well executed.

RIGHT. Now we’re up to where I got to before the PC went south on me. The main event of Fall Brawl ’93; War Games. Fat Tony talks it up saying it’s the most anticipated match of the year and has been since 1987.

Sting/Davey Boy Smith/Dustin Rhodes/Shockmaster v Vader/Sid/Harlem Heat

Gary Michael Cappetta spends forever explaining the rules. He’d gained himself a sense of self importance by 1993. But then when his competition was Michael fucking Buffer he would do, wouldn’t he? Harlem Heat are very early into their WCW tenure at this point and are still referred to as Kane and Kole. For people thinking that Kane was ripped off by the WWE, they’d be wrong. Originally The Undertaker sported the name Kane but they dropped it. Shockmaster makes me laugh as he’s gone from that stupid glitter covered Stormtrooper helmet to a marginally less silly white construction helmet. Roadwarrior Animal is the captain of Sting’s team and he tells Dustin Rhodes he’s not starting this match so Rhodes sneaks in while he’s not looking to wrestle Vader. The Rocky Mountain Mastodon promptly beats the crap out of Dustin’s bad ribs. Dustin pulls his own boot off and clubs Vader in the head with it. Vader gives him a clothesline for that. Vader isn’t going after the ribs as much as I’d expect but Dustin is sure selling them regardless. VADERBOMB! Now Vader just pounds on the ribcage. Dustin, even if he wanted to, can’t quit until everyone is in here. He valiantly fights back using his good old fashioned tag team partner; nepotism. You’d better believe old Dusty Rhodes booked it this way. Dustin is using his boot again as the first 5 minute period winds up. Heels win the coin toss. I know. I’m as shocked as you! Ha, I just saw the JCP logo on the camera. You’d think that WCW could afford some new cameras. Or at least a new logo. In comes Kane, which is Stevie Ray. He can’t even work a good boot shot. Dustin bleeds because this is War Games and that’s what happens. Next in for the faces is Sting. Heels meet him but Sting runs right through both guys. It occurs to me that even though he was still champion the booking of Vader had changed somewhat at this point as Sting manhandles him with relative ease compared to their previous meetings. I guess they toned him down because of all the babyface reactions he was getting. Next in for the heels is Sid. Go for the powerbomb big Sid! Dustin is bleeding quite heavily. Next man in is Davey and Sid meets him with clubberin’ rights before he’s even in there. Davey shows off his power and slams Vader. Sid gets double press slammed into the roof. Kole gets in here next and that’s Booker T. Dustin looks plenty pissed off as he’s the only one bleeding. Booker shows off the mad skills with an insane dive from one ring to the other. He just flew. He also injured his ribs on landing. Last man in is the Shockmaster. He runs everyone into the cage before clubbing Vader down. Meanwhile Dustin has Sid in trouble with a boot beating. Booker gets BORE-HUGGED and Stevie just stands there watching. Um, shouldn’t you, yanno, stop that? Poor Booker decides to quit at 16.39 and the faces win the War Games in highly unsatisfying fashion. **1/4. Pretty bad. Compared to pretty much every other War Games this one is weak. Especially the finish. Crowd doesn’t pop big despite the babyface team winning. It’s especially weak as it’s, as Tony pointed out, “the most anticipated match of the year”. The only chuckle was the commentators being mockingly impressed with Fred Ottman not falling over when he entered the cage.

The 411: WCW gets even worse here. This is a new low by my reckoning and possibly the worst WCW show, ever, by this point. Especially considering the stacked nature of the card. Flair-Rude should have been **** minimum but it was tricky getting up that level when they were outside the venue at the nearest pay phone. If you catch my drift. The Nasties-Horsemen match was absolute horseshit. Quite who thought it was a good idea to give them nearly 25 minutes. Actually it was probably either Eric Bischoff or Dusty Rhodes. Then there’s the weak finish to War Games and the cavalcade of crap that followed the solid opener in Steamboat-Regal. Steamboat is one of the few guys on the roster with enough pride to not call it in when the opportunity presents itself. Not that the booking helped any. Bischoff’s Disney tapings killed any heat the majority of the matches would have had and WCW in 1993, despite their great roster, would push some of the biggest, most worthless lumps they could find. Fred Ottman, Dave Sullivan, Ice Train, Charlie Norris and that’s just this show. Thumbs way down. Avoid at all costs.
Final Score:  2.5   [ Very Bad ]  legend

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