wrestling / Video Reviews

The SmarK Retro Repost – Fall Brawl ’95

August 10, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

– I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Main Event pre-game show
that WCW used before the PPV. Much like Heat these days, WCW used to
use their Sunday afternoon show as a lead-in, and in this case we got a
“classic” angle, as Hogan (with 10 or 12 planted actors posing as fans)
was doing an interview with Mean Gene outside, sitting on his Harley.
However, that mean, nasty, stinking, wart-infested Giant drove up in his
monster truck and (with the help of about 5 different camera angles)
crushed the innocent motorcycle. Then he leaned out of the window and
made faces at Hogan like a crack junkie coming off a particularly bad
batch. Anyway, later on the show is somewhat redeemed by a pretty good
debut for Eddy Guerrero as he faces Alex Wright.

– Live from Asheville, North Carolina. What, did they want to be
Nashville but discovered that the name was already taken?

– Your hosts are Tony Skee-a-vone and Bobby Heenan.

– Opening match: Brian Pillman v. Johnny B. Badd. Badd’s character
seems have to gotten all the gay out of his system by this point, with
the exception of the Badd Blaster, the confetti-shooting gun he still
brought with him from time to time. Winner of this thing gets a shot at
Sting’s US title at some indeterminate point in the future. Pillman
gets a small heel pop, despite his sickeningly babyface “California
Brian” gimmick that he was stuck with at the time. Badd was literally
improving daily by this point. Longish feeling out period to start with
not much going on. Headlock, armdrag, etc. Match gets moving about 8
minutes in, as Badd works Pillman’s leg, causing a shoving match to
erupt and Pillman to dust off the old heel persona from the Hollywood
Blonds days. Pillman starts running like a coward and cheating, drawing
mad heel heat from the crowd. Badd gets the slingshot legdrop for two.
We get the double KO spot, with Pillman recovering first and hitting a
cheap headbutt to take Badd down and get more heel heat. I’m in awe of
Pillman’s in-ring heel turn as we watch. Badd gets tossed, but suplexes
Pillman to the floor and hits a pescado (dive over the top to the
floor). Nice. Back in the ring, and Badd tries to come off the top,
but gets dropkicked in mid-air by Pillman. Badd gets a powerbomb for
two. Badd counters Pillman’s finisher, the tornado DDT, by shoving him
to the mat for two. Pillman with a russian legsweep into an armlock
submission move as time winds down. Badd escapes and hits the TOOTY
FRUITY PUNCH OF DOOM for two. Pillman hits Air Pillman for two, then a
backslide for two as time expires at 20:00. We need a #1 contender,
though, so it’s overtime.

They fight to the floor, then back in as both miss a dropkick. Pillman
gets a sleeper, reversed by Badd, which is one of my least favorite
moves in wrestling, next to the Indian deathlock when performed by
anyone not from Japan. Pillman goes for a superplex, but Badd pushes
him off and sunset flips him off the top for two. Badd tries a
powerbomb (like earlier in the match) but it’s reversed to a rana for
two by Pillman. The psychology here is positively All Japan-ish.
Pillman with a crucifix, countered into a fallaway slam by Badd for two.
Badd hits the top rope rana for two. He tries again, but Pillman
reverses to the tornado DDT, this time hitting it for two. Pillman goes
to the top, but he’s knocked off and to the steel railing where he hits
his jaw. He does that spot all the time, and it always looks great.
Badd nails the somersault plancha for good measure. Back in, but when
Badd tries the slingshot legdrop again, Pillman counters and it misses.
I’m really digging the psychology here. Pillman tosses Badd and hits a
tope suicida, which is really amazing considering the shape his body was
in at the time. He goes for a springboard dropkick, but misses and
crotches himself on the top rope. They criss-cross and Pillman tries a
cross-body, but Badd uses his weight advantage to fall on top of Pillman
for the pin at 29:57. Just a spectacular match. ****1/4

– Cobra v. Sgt. Craig Pittman. And away down the other end of the
spectrum we go. This would be the sort of blowoff for the Pittman-Cobra
feud, which was like the GI Joe equivalent of Blood Runs Cold. Cobra,
oddly enough, would go on to respectability as nWo Sting. Pittman’s
only worthwhile contribution to wrestling was a quote on Nitro late in
1995…”The beatings will continue until morale improves”. I LOVE that
quote. Anyway, one of Pittman’s underlings (Prince Iaukea, oddly
enough, dressed in fatigues) comes out to run interference before the
match starts, allowing Pittman to repel from the ceiling and beat Cobra
with a cross-armbreaker in less than a minute. DUD And that was that.

– Video package of another one I forgot about for Netcop Busts: Paul
Orndorff hires motivational speaker Gary Spivey to boost his
self-confidence. Gary, for those of you not familiar with
this…interesting…angle, has a fake-looking wig that looks to have
been ripped right off a live sheep. This angle was so lame that
Orndorff retired soon after.

– TV title match: Rent-a-gade v. DDP. David Flair has nothing on
Renegade, a sort-of Ultimate Warrior lookalike who was brought into WCW
in early 1995 as Hulk Hogan’s “ultimate suprise” in order to trick the
rubes into thinking Jim Hellwig had signed with WCW. To say it
backfired for WCW is like saying World War II went pretty badly for
Japan. The fans didn’t buy into him from the beginning, so what did WCW
do? Drop it and move on? HELL NO! They put him over Arn Anderson
cleanly at Great American Bash 95 for the TV title, of course. If you
can’t see the logic, you’re just not a big enough WCW fan. You can’t
BUY genius like that, kids. The fans got more and more tired of
Renegade, and the WWF decided to file a lawsuit preventing him from
using the Warrior’s mannerisms, just in case WCW fans happened to be
total retards who couldn’t tell the difference themselves. The result
was this match, as the time had come for the Great Renegade Experiment
to end after 7 months of excrutiating matches and bad interviews. DDP
was in full trailer park trash mode, having just been rescued from
poverty by the mysterious benefactor (who never was named), and then won
13 million dollars after swindling Kimberly out of her bingo winnings.


DDP has his hired goon Maxx Muscle (don’t ask, I don’t know where he is
now) in his corner. Renegade no-sells everything from DDP to start.
Renegade misses a move and clotheslines himself on the top rope, giving
DDP the advantage. He gets a few two counts, but the crowd is totally
out of this one. Renegade makes the comeback, hitting two sloppy
clotheslines and the HANDSPRING ELBOW OF DEATH! It’s pretty sad when
the guy in question is the last one to realize what a joke he is.
Splash off the top gets two, which was a dead giveaway that the
Renegade’s reign was over, because his finisher was now dead. DDP
tries a VERY telegraphed Diamond Cutter, but Renegade escapes. One of
the best aspects of DDP’s improvement was his ability to literally hit
the Diamond Cutter out of nowhere. Maxx jumps on the apron and collides
with DDP, but instead of capitalizing like a good babyface should, he
goes after Maxx, and walks into a Diamond Cutter with an assist from
Maxx Muscle to give DDP his first title at 7:53. Sadly, Renegade’s
career spiralled downhill from there so fast that he ended up taking his
own life earlier this year. DDP meanwhile, possessed of equal talent
but with better backstage connections, has won every title in WCW twice
and has a place as a booker. That’s why politics sucks. **

– WCW World tag team title: Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater v. Harlem
Heat. Stevie Ray makes sure to inform us that it is, indeed, “on like
neckbone”, as he makes his way past the camera. Thanks, I was worried
there. But what about the chickenwing on a string? This match,
meanwhile, is the result of a convoluted series of title changes between
Slamboree 95 and here, with a couple of them being invented from nothing
and edited together from previous matches. The end result was Buck and
Slater with the tag titles, although no firm evidence exists that the
title change that made them champs ever actually happened. It’s WCW,
don’t ask, just shake your head and move on. Wisdom from Bobby: “In
order to beat Buck and Slater, you’re going to have to beat them”. Tony
has no answer for that one. Tony hypes the hotline instead, noting that
a prominant superstar may be defecting to another organization. In
other news, a prominant ball of gas may be rising in the morning, but
you’ll have to call my hotline to find out. Seriously, the defecting
star thing was like EVERY DAY in 1995. It was more newsworthy when
someone DIDN’T get out of their contract and switch promotions. Poetry
from Bobby: “Que sera sera/Whatever will be, will be/So meet me in my
pickup, sweetie/We’re off to Bucksnort, Tennessee”. Tony questions
Bobby’s sanity. I question his sobriety. Subplot for the match:
Sherri is trying to seduce Robert Parker, the manager for the champs.
See, Parker had been pursuing her, but she wasn’t interested. Then she
took a fall to the floor and hit her head, suddenly realizing her love
for him. Hey, can you tell that I’m deliberately ignoring the match?
You know, it’s really hard to appreciate how horribly untalented Stevie
Ray was even back then unless you have the hindsight of today’s
“matches” from him to compare with. Really unspeakably dull heat
segment on Booker T, so I won’t speak of it. Instead, I’ll note that
I’m surprised WCW hasn’t hauled either Slater or Buck out of mothballs
and put them with the Rednecks. Or even Robert Parker as a mouthpiece
for them. After what feels like six years, Stevie Ray gets the hot tag,
and a pier-six brawl erupts. So of course now that it’s getting good,
the camera cuts to the OTHER ring, where Sherri is seducing Parker. The
ref is totally lost, so we get a run-in for good measure, as the Nasty
Boys avenge Buck’s interference in their match earlier in the night by
nailing him with an international object and Booker T pins him to give
the Heat their third tag titles at 17:00. Bad match, dumb ending. 1/2*
Parker gets dumped by Buck and Slater after the match, and he’d go on to
co-manage the Heat along with Sherri for about the next year or so.

– Ric Flair v. Arn Anderson. The resuscitation of the Horsemen was one
of the few things WCW did right in 1995. This particular match came
about because Flair was becoming more and more dependant on Anderson to
help him win matches, and it came to a head as Vader beat of them in a
handicap match at the Clash preceding this show, with Flair not pulling
his weight. Anderson confronted him with years of pent-up frustration
at never getting a shot at Flair’s title, and they decided to have this
match to get it out of their system. This was such a great storyline.
They play mind-games with each other to start, with Flair taking the
heel role. They exchange wristlocks, which is the worst thing you can
do when wrestling Arn Anderson, because he immediately goes after
Flair’s arm. Flair tries to take it to the mat but gets nowhere. Arn
works the armbar, so Flair reacts the best way he knows — he chops him
down. He attacks the knee, drawing a big pop. Arn gets a high knee off
the second rope, then goes back to the arm. Tony and Bobby do a great
job of selling the psychology and the history of the Anderson’s
arm-breaking tactics. Arn actually pulls out a single-arm DDT,
something he learned from Bobby Eaton. They exchange shots in the
corner, and AA ends up on the floor. Flair comes off the top rope with
a double-axehandle, then tosses Arn back in. AA comes back, but a low
blow turns the tide. Back outside the ring, as Flair takes a backdrop
on the floor, and retaliates with a suplex. Back in the ring for a
delayed suplex and more chops, for a two count. Arn comes back and goes
for the DDT, but Flair grabs the ropes to block. He flops for good
measure. He goes to the top, but AA slams him off and goes for that
dreaded move, the Double Axehandle Off the Second Rope That Has Never
Hit a Single Person. Luckily for Ric, it misses. I get the feeling
that Arn’s had that one saved up in him for so long that if he ever hit
it, the poor recipiant would be dead. Flair gets the figure-four, but
Arn reverses. Flair escapes and tries agian, but gets cradled for two.
Now Pillman jumps onto the ring apron and talks smack to Flair, so Flair
smacks him. Pillman doesn’t appreciate that, and kicks Flair in the
head, allowing Arn to DDT his best friend and pin him at 21:53 to the
shock and/or delight of the crowd, depending on which 50% of the arena
you asked at that moment. That should have effectively killed the
Horsemen for good, but bigger schemes were in the works at Halloween
Havoc that year… ****

– Wargames: The Dungeon of Doom v. The Hulkamaniacs. The angle to set
this up is almost exactly, to the letter, the one currently running
today for WCW. Sting, Hogan, Luger and Savage are the faces, with Sting
and Hogan having a match on Nitro that’s interrupted by the monster
heels. Luger doesn’t Hogan, Savage doesn’t trust Luger, blah blah blah.
The Dungeon of Dumb is represented by Brutus “the Zodiac Booty Disciple
Barber Butcher Clipmaster with No Name Man” Beefcake, John “the Shark
Avalanche Earthquake Golga” Tenta, THE MONSTER MENG, and Kamala, who has
no other funny names, but is a really big load of crap even without
them. If Hogan’s team wins (IF????), he gets five minutes with Kevin
Sullivan. All the Hulkamaniacs are wearing facepaint. Because it’s
war, you see. Sting starts out with Shark, and it’s not very good.
Why? Because Shark is JUST TOO FAT. Shark is winded after two minutes
and goes for the bearhug. Shark actually tries a dive from one ring
into the other, but gets hung up on the top ropes. I’m surprised Tenta
can still look at himself in the mirror in the morning. Zodiac is next
in, nothing happens worth mentioning. Savage saves Sting, and he
immediately goes after Zodiac in a “winner gets to be Hulk’s lapdog for
the day” match. No winner seems evident. Savage’s leg somehow ends up
OUTSIDE the cage, where Sullivan works on it. Kamala is in next.
Nothing notable happens. Luger is up next, but he and Savage don’t
trust each other and end up fighting. That allows Meng to come in and
clean house. Nothing much going on. Hogan is the last man in, throwing
powder like a true sportsman. More directionless kicking and punching
until Hulk puts Zodiac into…wait for it…A CHINLOCK (seriously, just
a plain old rear chinlock, not even a proper camel clutch) for the
submission at 18:59. This was pathetic on so many levels I can’t even
begin to start. *1/2 So now we get…

– Hulk Hogan v. Kevin Sullivan. Hogan beats on the Taskmaster for a
couple of minutes until the Giant (looking positively thin compared to
the Big Slow of today) jumps into the ring and does something to Hogan’s
neck that incapacitates him. He’s the son of Andre, you know.
Hulkamaniacs make the save, end of show.

The Bottom Line: This felt more like an episode of Nitro, with a bunch
of storylines being set up for Halloween Havoc rather than paying
anything off here. The Hogan-DOD crap would drag on…and on….and
on…until Uncensored 96 when Hogan would essentially beat the whole
group and Ric Flair by himself in that ridiculous cage match.

Still, two ****+ matches is nothing to sneeze at, even if the rest

Mildly recommended.


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Scott Keith

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