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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Superbrawl III

March 30, 2006 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Superbrawl III  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Superbrawl III

Flair returns. Davey Boy debuts and we witness the greatest strap match…ever

1993 is a year most WCW fans don’t look back on with much fondness. In particular Scott Keith was pretty heavy in his criticisms of the company during the year penning his “For the Want of a Nail” column on the subject, which is arguably one of his best. I’m actually a little different. I have a soft spot for WCW in 1993. They happened to spend a lot of time with wrestlers I’ve always enjoyed watching. Vader, Sting, Cactus Jack, Davey Boy Smith and Maxx Payne. Oh yes, my guilty pleasure. I am a total mark for Maxx Payne. Less so for Man Mountain Rock but I kind of enjoyed that gimmick too. The point of this rambling opening paragraph is that in 1993 WCW had something in every single match that I enjoyed. You can’t go a match without hitting the Hollywood Blondes, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit or any of the names I mentioned beforehand. Oddly enough this whole show was put together by Dusty Rhodes and Eric Bischoff. Not exactly the guys with track records to make me jump for joy but for some reason they worked well together. This show is among the proof.

We’re in Asheville, North Carolina. Hosts are Fat Tony and Jesse Ventura. 1993’s first casualty is Jim Ross off to wear a toga at Wrestlemania 9. Poor Jim. Tragically WCW were still clipping up their tape releases so we lose the Blondes match and start with…

Chris Benoit v Too Cold Scorpio

This is Benoit’s PPV debut. Benoit starts fast and hits a snap suplex. Scorpio hits a flying crossbody for 2 and spin kicks Benoit outside. Back inside to the standing counters and the crowd doesn’t get that yet although there’s a small ripple of applause. Scorpio goes to work on the arm. Scorpio flips around a bit sending Benoit outside. Back in for the lucha hand held stuff and Scorpio owns Benoit on that too before going back to the arm. Benoit swats a dropkick away but Scorpio retaliates with a superkick and he goes back to the arm. To the near misses, Benoit catches Scorpio flipping and lariats him down. Backbreaker from Benoit and he holds on it. No submission from Scorpio though. Benoit dumps him on the ropes and Scorpio bails. Scorpio comes back in looking for the missile dropkick but Benoit just moves and pins for 2. Benoit with a bearhug front slam into the LIONTAMER. Benoit gives up on that because Scorpio doesn’t quit. BACK SUPERPLEX from Benoit but he’s too hurt himself to pin. That eventually gets 2. Russian legsweep gets 2. Scorpio avoids another back suplex into a crossbody for 2. Benoit with a powerbomb for 2. Scorpio avoids another one into a sunset flip but that ends up in the ropes. Scorpio twice learned and Benoit keeps going to the well with what brought him here. But he’s never been in such a high profile American match. Scorpio with a tired looking enzuigiri. Benoit avoids a pair of spin kicks and Scorpio resorts to the clothesline. Funky Flash Splash gets 2. Benoit avoids a victory roll into a reverse powerbomb. Benoit with a leg jam for 2. Scorpio gets a roll up for 2 into a near falls and Scorpio pins Benoit at 18.18 (actually 19.59 on the official timer just ahead of the time expiring). ****. Really good towards the end and Scorpio didn’t blow anything. Benoit persists that the time limit expired but Nick Patrick tells him he lost.

Davey Boy Smith v Wild Bill Irwin

Bill Irwin, the future Goon ladies and gentlemen. Davey Boy is making his debut so gets a nice reception. Ventura calls Davey Boy the most popular wrestler in Europe telling us he sells out Wembley Stadium. Well, he did at Summerslam ’92. Davey has pretty much the whole match and throws Irwin around for fun. I remember marking out when Davey appeared in WCW in ’93. A lot of American fans didn’t really understand Davey’s appeal to the European market. Irwin gets a little offence in but the crowd largely ignores it fully expecting Davey to comeback. Davey has way too much power and jacks Irwin up for a stalling suplex. Crowd gives him the same love as Rick Steiner, when that was a good thing. Ventura takes a shot at JR on commentary while Davey picks off Irwin with a running powerslam at 5.48. *1/4. Nothing more than a glorified squash but it was quite fun.

Cactus Jack v Paul Orndorff

Falls count anywhere and Foley jumps Orndorff during his backstage interview with a shovel attack. They brawl around at ringside with Cactus exposing the concrete floor. Orndorff takes a slam on the exposed floor and Cactus connects with a running elbow for 2. Cactus climbs the buckles and hits a sunset flip to the floor for 2 but Cactus hit so HARD that he stays down. Orndorff lays the boots in and we hit the ring. That doesn’t last long as Orndorff throws Cactus outside and we head up the aisle. Cactus gets whipped into some rails and takes a cool bump over both of them that looked remarkably safely landed. Orndorff suplexes him ONTO a standing rail and that looked painful. Orndorff goes to work on the knee. Orndorff takes it back inside and suplexes Cactus ONTO THE ROPES. That was almost onto the top buckle. Orndorff goes back to the knee and hooks a Figure 4. Cactus struggles out but Orndorff sends him over the top rope with a clothesline. Orndorff drives the knee into the concrete. Orndorff uses Cactus’s own leg brace to bash him in the head and he BACKBUMPS OFF THE APRON. Orndorff gets chair and bashes Cactus in the knee three times. Mr Wonderful calls for the piledriver but Cactus gets the shovel and levels Orndorff for 3 at 12.19. ***1/4. Wild match especially for WCW in early ’93. It was just insane for them. Poor Mick Foley took a couple of mad bumps but then I say that every time I see him wrestle. The man is clearly a nutcase.

US title – Dustin Rhodes (c) v Maxx Payne

I remember Maxx being somewhat less tubby. He still RAWKS though. Dustin starts aggressively so Maxx bails. Back in Dustin rolls him up for 2 and hits an armdrag so Maxx bails again. Fat Tony tells us the “State of Euphoria”, which Maxx hails from is “somewhere in his mind”. Maxx gets armdragged some more. Ventura calls Maxx’s display thus far as nervous but it’s more like a choke job. Dustin isn’t really up to carrying this bout either especially when he’s the babyface. Maxx finally gets going but Dustin isn’t impressed and continues to work over Maxx’s arm. Maxx retorts with a yanking Irish whip where he doesn’t let go of the arm thus fucking up Dustin’s shoulder. Maxx looks for the Paynekiller but Dustin headscissors him away. Into the ropes where Maxx works over Dustin’s arm some more. Dustin fires up but gets caught going for a crossbody. Payne slams him but misses an elbow drop. LARIATOOOOO from Dustin! Suplex scores for 2. Shades of Wilbur Snyder is on but Maxx drags the referee into Dustin to break it thus drawing a DQ at 11.24. ½*. No finish? What the fuck is that? Maxx looked out of his depth here and Dustin was left somewhat exposed as he’s never looked great wrestling anyone who isn’t terrific.

Oh, I thought I’d mention at this point that they’re been running skits all night with Sting visiting Vader’s “White Castle of Fear” whereby there’s a lot of ladies lying around and Vader screams “STIIIIIINGEEEER” breaking a mirror. Great stuff.

PROMO TIME – Ric Flair. He’s BAAAAAAAAACK! Flair points out he never lost the NWA title that is about to be contested.

NWA title – Great Muta (c) v Barry Windham

Crowd wants Flair in this match and chants so loudly the referee can’t make his instructions heard. Flair joins the commentary team and picks Windham to win tonight. Stalling. Windham looks like he can’t be bothered. Muta can rarely be bothered, especially in the United States. This doesn’t bode well. “All those Japs are tough” sayeth Naitch. Muta lands a spinning back kick before grounding Windham with a headlock. That lasts 2 minutes or so while the commentary team amuse themselves with a bit of banter. Muta hits a dropkick and its back to the headlock. Crowd is audibly unhappy with that turn of events. Windham tries to back suplex out but Muta holds on. We’ve lost 3 minutes in clipping already, which is probably a bonus. It was probably 3 minutes of headlock. Muta scores with the power elbow and goes back to the headlock. While that kind of makes sense Windham is doing nothing to escape, he’s just lying there. Just as I type that he tries to wrestle out and gets headlocked over again. Windham elbows out and Muta misses a dropkick. DDT from Windham but he doesn’t pin for some reason. Muta gets punched out of the ring and then suplexed on the floor. Windham suplexes Muta back into the ring for 2. First near fall after some 15 minutes-ish. Windham hooks up a sleeper. Muta fights it but Windham uses the ropes. After three times Windham gets caught by the ref. He hits a gutwrench suplex for 2. Windham continues to pound away and drops an elbow for 2. Windham goes to a chinlock while Fat Tony talks about pacing. Muta tries for a sunset flip but Windham punches him in the eye. Muta hits a crossbody for 2. Increasingly the crowd are leaning towards Muta although in general they’ve not really cared for this match. Windham goes for a piledriver but Muta backdrops out. This match is getting really slow and just plods along with Windham clubbering and Muta selling like he’s been beaten up for an hour. Muta lands a spin kick but Windham goes to the eyes. Windham goes for the superplex but Muta chops him off the top. Diving chop scores and Muta is suddenly fine. Handspring back elbow. A little consistency in the selling there, perhaps? Muta hits a lazy looking backbreaker. Moonsault misses although he kicks Windham in the head because he doesn’t move out of the way properly. Muta recovers for a back suplex. He suddenly pops up and is, once again, absolutely fine. He goes for another moonsault but that gets knees. Windham cuts him down with a clothesline and flubs the Implant DDT for the win at 24.07 shown. *1/2. Way too long. They started screwing stuff up as the match progressed. Neither man came across as a champion and the NWA title suffers as a result.

POST MATCH Ric Flair puts the title on Windham but Barry wants nothing to do with him. WHOOOO!

WHITE CASTLE OF FEAR Strap match – Vader v Sting

This is non-title despite Vader being the champion and it’s also not sanctioned by WCW. Vader hauls Sting in using the strap and waffles him with a clothesline. Vader with the ROCKY MOUNTAIN ROPE SPLASH. Sting recovers while Vader poses though and crotches Vader with the strap. Sting with an Enzuigiri and he hits a diving clothesline too. Splash off the ropes and Vader has been worn down but Sting can’t touch the buckles because he can’t drag Vader’s weight. Perhaps now he realises why Vader wanted a strap match. Sting with another splash off the ropes and he gives Vader a whippin’. Race on the apron and Sting whips him too. Vader bails under the ropes so Sting has to follow and he drags Vader into the ring post. Vader’s back is RAW. Good God that is sick. Sting slams Vader on the floor and opts to drag Vader around the outside and he collects posts out there instead, which is the smartest thing he’s done all night. Vader stops that by dragging Sting into the rail. There is blood gushing from Vader’s back. Vader drags Sting into the Baby Bull splashes and Sting has no hope of escape because of the strap. Vader looks for the powerbomb but Sting backdrops out. Sting looks for a splash off the ropes but he misses. Vader demonstrates a running splash. Sure has been a lot of splashing in this match. Vader with a Samoan drop. Vader climbs – VADERBOMB. Now Vader gets to the whippin’ as a receipt. Vader picks Sting up and climbs the buckles with him! Holy crap – SUPER SAMOAN DROP! Vader starts collecting buckles but Sting kicks him off. VADERBOMB…MISSES and Sting has to roll inside because of the strap and that was CLOSE. Vader climbs and Sting drags him down “groining him” as Ventura says. Vader starts to recover and Sting drags him all the way off. Vader recovers first because Sting is so beaten down and he hits a SUPERPLEX. Sting wraps his feet around the ropes to stop Vader collecting buckles. Vader pummels away in the corner again. The crowd is now stunned because Sting is getting beaten up so badly. Legit stunned as opposed to Vince McMahon’s version where the crowd doesn’t give a fuck about some shitty Undertaker match. He drags Sting out of the corner but Sting rolls into the Capo Kick. Vader is still up first so Sting GERMAN SUPLEXES HIM. What tremendous power. DDT connects and now Vader is struggling. Sting is bleeding from the corner punches. Sting pummels Vader in the corner with saliva and blood flying all over the place. Ref is bumped and Sting picks Vader up in a fireman’s carry to collect corners. Sting trips over the bumped referee. Vader is now bleeding from the ear after that corner beating. Vader sits on Sting after partially falling on him on the corner collecting. Vader drags Sting to 3 corners, Sting kicks Vader off again but he lands on the 4th corner at 20.53. Vader wins the White Castle of Fear strap match. ****1/2. Their best match if you want my opinion, which you probably do or you wouldn’t be reading this. Certainly a contender for the best strap match, ever.

The 411: I’d go even higher for Superbrawl III if the Smokey Mountain Wrestling tag match was actually included on the commercial release. My fellow reviewers enjoyed that particular match. Bob Barron went as high as ****1/2 for it. If you can get the actual PPV broadcast Jim Cornette doesn’t get fucked over by Eric Bischoff so badly. What you do get with the commercial release is a solid undercard and a brilliant Vader v Sting match to cap it off. The Vader-Sting feud held WCW together in early 1993 before Bischoff’s silly overspending kicked in. This is the best of their high profile matches although they’re all great. This at least has an undercard to back it up with Benoit-Scorpio being a stand out. Thumbs way up for the show even if you should fast-forward the NWA title match. Compare this to what the WWF were doing at the time (Wrestlemania 9 – two decent opening matches and nothing else) and you’ll see how WCW were probably the better company. Although Bischoff’s intentions were actually to lean more towards what Vince McMahon was doing…
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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