Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Fall Brawl
September 17, 1995
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hulk Hogan (7/17/1994)
WCW U.S. Champion: Sting (6/18/1995)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater (7/22/1995)
WCW World Television Champion: The Renegade (6/18/1995)
On the pre-PPV Main Event show, The Giant came to the arena in a monster truck and ran over Hogan’s motorcycle! What a jerk thing to do.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan.
Johnny B. Badd vs. Brian Pillman
Winner gets a U.S. title shot. Kind of odd that Buffer is doing the introductions for such a match though. Pillman gets a heel reaction from the crowd – setting things up for the way this match will be worked. Long feeling-out process to start. Both get nearfalls off some cool rollups, but they go back to headlocks and chinlocks. Who would have ever thought four years earlier in 1991 that the effeminate and embarrassing Johnny B. Badd would go on to be able to have matches where he could keep up with someone as talented as Brian Pillman? Badd has been busted open over his eye. Pillman breaks free from a chinlock into a Billy Robinson backbreaker and then applies a Boston crab. Pillman’s first sign of acting like a heel is when he fires a closed-fist shot on Badd. Remember that the Four Horsemen had still yet to be revived. He’s still somewhat of a babyface. Pillman runs his mouth and then gets whipped in for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Badd goes after the leg (huh?) for a while. Next, Pillman shoves Badd down and then gets his receipt. Pillman corners Badd and catches him with a back elbow and then laughs about it. Fantastic. Badd fires back on Pillman, so he takes a walk up the aisleway. After he takes a count, he gets back in and wants a handshake. Badd will give him a hand in the form of a left hook across the face. BA-ZING! Pillman cheapshots Badd anyway and tosses him to the floor. He ends up biting Badd on the apron and goes to smash his face on the turnbuckle, but Badd blocks and makes Pillman eat the turnbuckle instead. Slingshot legdrop connects for two. Back to the chinlock. Pillman fights out into a double-KO. Badd’s up first, but Pillman’s right there to knock him down again with a headbutt. They fight over a suplex on the apron ending with Badd bringing Pillman to the floor! Badd follows up and wipes out Pillman with a running plancha! Back in, Pillman nails Badd with a dropkick as he comes off the top rope! That gets two. Pillman ducks low off a whip and receives a sit-out powerbomb for 1-2-NO! We’ve got three minutes left in the 20-minute time limit as Pillman connects with a tombstone piledriver! Cover, 1-2-NO! Badd shoves off the TORNADO DDT for 1-2-NO! Instead of hitting more high impact moves, Badd grabs an armbar? Pillman comes back with a Russian legsweep into a Koji Clutch! WHAT! He changes over into a three-quarter nelson with one minute left. Badd escapes the hold and hits the TOOTIE FROOTIE PUNCH! Cover, 1-2-NO! Ahh Pillman got his foot on the bottom rope. With fifteen seconds left, Pillman catches Badd off guard with AIR PILLMAN! That gets two. Pillman makes a last ditch effort with a backslide as we come to the time limit. (20:00) That actually corresponded with real time! Good job, WCW. There must be a winner though. Match continues. Lots of brawling ensues as they fight out to the floor where Badd gets sent into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Pillman tries a missile dropkick and Badd tries to block with a dropkick of his own as they both crash. Pillman hooks on a sleeper and a body scissors. Badd makes the ropes and grabs a sleeper of his own. Pillman escapes out with a back suplex though. Badd avoids a superplex and sends Pillman to the mat for a Flying Sunset Flip for 1-2-NO! Badd wants another powerbomb, but Pillman counters with a headscissors. That gets another nearfall. Badd blocks a crucifix and drops down on Pillman for 1-2-NO! BADD DAY for Pillman! It’s a super frankensteiner! Cover, 1-2-NO! He wants to give him another one, but Pillman gets his TORNADO DDT and that gets a nearfall. Pillman gets crotched up top and sent down to the guardrail for his famous chest bump! He can’t have a match without it! Now Badd meets him on the floor with a running somersault plancha! Crazy! Back in again, Badd’s slingshot splash hits knees. Another two-count happens. Pillman hangs Badd out to dry across the top rope, causing him to fall on the apron and walk around on the floor to catch his breath. Pillman attempts a high spot and delivers a suicide dive! Badd was a little too far away from the ring though and he didn’t connect with him all that well. Badd ducks away from a springboard dropkick on the apron and Pillman ends up getting crotched again for two. They run the ropes and collide with crossbody blocks, but its Badd who falls on top of Pillman for 1-2-3! (29:59) Fantastic match with both guys pulling out stuff rarely if ever seen on a US PPV at the time. Both men end up getting US title shots and neither man could capture the US title which makes the end result seem kind of pointless, but at least we got a good match out of it. ****
Sgt. Craig Pittman vs. Cobra
Cobra is Jeff Farmer who is best known for being the nWo Sting. We last saw him on WCW PPV as Lightning from the tag team Thunder & Lightning. Cobra is part of the CIA Special Forces! Anyways, the storyline goes that these two were in Vietnam together and Pittman left him behind on a mission, so now it’s pay back time. Instead of Pittman coming out down the entry way, he has a man (the future Prince Iaukea) in Army fatigues run interference while he repels from the ceiling. You see, he’s being all stealth because he’s a Marine! It’s a real short match as they fight to the floor. Cobra gets in one moment of offense by reversing a whip and sending Pittman into the ringpost. Back in, Pittman avoids a flying shoulderblock and grabs the CODE RED for the submission. (1:22) No wonder Pittman left him on a mission. Cobra is pathetic! ¼*
We take a look at motivational speaker, psychic and all-around nut job Gary Spivey giving Paul Orndorff a visit because he heard that Mr. Wonderful is down on his luck. He reminds Orndorff that he is indeed Mr. Wonderful because the people in the crowds think of him as Mr. Wonderful. Orndorff takes a big look in the mirror and kisses his reflection. If you’ve never seen this character, Google him. He’s always good for a laugh. Anyways, this is the start of Orndorff carrying around a mirror with him to the ring which lasts only a short while before an injury causes him to retire from the ring.
WCW World Television Champion The Renegade (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/The Diamond Doll & Maxx Muscle)
As mean as it is to say, we have come to the end of Renegade’s relevance. Renegade turns his back on DDP and gets walloped for it. Renegade kicks out at one from a Russian legsweep and NO-SELLS a headbutt to put Page on the floor. He staggers into the ringpost and then falls into the front row. Back in, Renegade grabs a headlock and then blasts DDP with a clothesline for two. Renegade misses a crossbody and crashes in the ropes. Page gives him a neck snap across the top rope and demands Kimberly pull out a “10” from her box of numbers. Back in again, Page delivers a swinging neckbreaker and wants another “10”. Kimberly does not care. Page tosses Renegade out, but turns around into a shoulder and a sunset flip. Page blocks for two, but Renegade hooks the arms with his legs and gets a two-count as well. DDP jumps up with a clothesline and connects with a running spear in the corner. He tries another one and Renegade moves. Page telegraphs a backdrop and gets kicked in the teeth. Clotheslines continue until Renegade hits his most competent move and that’s a Corner Handspring Elbow! Renegade connects with a flying double ax handle for two. Page comes back to counter a hiptoss into a DDT! Renegade shoves off a DIAMOND CUTTER and rolls him up for 1-2-NO! Maxx Muscle’s on the apron. Jimmy Hart walks over and yells at him to get down as Renegade reverses a whip that causes DDP to knock Maxx of the apron. Renegade catches Page with a powerslam and goes up top for his FLYING SPLASH. Instead of just hitting DDP with his finisher, he flies down on top of Maxx Muscle. As he crawls back in the ring, Maxx Muscle grabs his foot so that DDP can catch him with the DIAMOND CUTTER! That’s all she wrote. DDP wins his first title in WCW. (8:07) This was actually the best of Renegade’s three PPV singles matches. I’m saying that only because of the Handspring FN Elbow. You could make the argument that a flashy move like that goes against his character, but let’s not overanalyze. Renegade would be sent to the Power Plant to train, but his career would never peak this high again. Sadly, he committed suicide in 1999. Even though it was ultimately his own choice, you could say WCW was partly to blame. *
WCW World Tag Team Champions Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri)
Since Sherri’s bang on the head at the Clash, she has been unable to keep her hands off Col. Parker. How will this love affair affect the tag title match?! On his way to the ring, Booker tells us that he wants his stuff back. I’m guessing he means the tag titles. Keep in mind that earlier on the Main Event, Buck and Slater cost the Nasties a match against the American Males. Tony shills the WCW Hotline telling us that somebody somewhere has jumped promotions! How could you narrow that down to one person in 1995? Especially by this point in the year. We get some back and forth heat segments that really go nowhere. I mean, it’s pretty boring stuff. Don’t get me wrong though – I’m a fan of Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater more for their personalities than their wrestling styles. Seriously, nothing interesting happens for fifteen minutes and that makes it ultimately unnecessary to recap. After the champs beat on Booker T for a while, he makes the hot tag to Stevie Ray. Just as it starts breaking down, Sherri and Parker finally notice each other. Sherri meets the Tennessee Stud in the other ring for tongue action. With the ref totally confused, the Nasties run down and KO’s Slater with his own boot as Stevie Ray covers for 1-2-3. (16:51) Harlem Heat wins their third tag team championship. Yes, THREE tag team championships in the span of nine months. And people say Hall and Nash killed the belts. ¾*
Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson
It’s the match you thought you’d never see! Arn’s tired of always having to fight Flair’s battles and now Arn Anderson’s feeling lucky. No feeling out process needed for these two. It becomes that “game of human chess” we’re always hearing about with Anderson predicting Flair’s movements and countering them and work on the arm. It’s the Anderson tradition. Various WCW wrestlers look on from the front row – American Males, Eddie Guerrero, Alex Wright, Brian Pillman. Big Bubba Rogers and Col. Parker are hanging out together too. Once Flair executes a chop that stings Arn, the advantage goes over to Flair only for a moment. Flair runs into an elbow out of the corner and gets caught in a sleeper. Flair backs Arn into the corner, but the effect from the sleeper has him groggy enough to take a knee off the second rope from Arn! Hammerlock slam follows and we’re back in a hammerlock down on the mat. Next up, Arn takes Flair over to the corner to post him real good. Back in, Arn delivers an armbreaker DDT and grabs an armbar. Flair gets to his feet and takes Arn to the corner for a chop. Arn spins him around in the corner and unloads before he whips Flair in for the Flair Corner Flip. Flair goes down the apron and ducks Arn as he charges him to cause AA to go flying over the top rope to the floor! From the top, Flair lowers the boom on Arn and gives him a straight shot to the chin. Back in, Flair stomps Arn in the ropes and them gives him another chop. Rolling Knee Drop connects and Flair covers Arn with his foot on the TOP rope for a bunch of two-counts. YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH, KID! Arn gets another burst of energy and fires back on Flair. Backdrop out of the corner gets two. Flair begs off as Arn cocks back, but ref Randy Anderson blocks the blow and that allows Flair to cheapshot Arn. Back to the floor they go, Flair delivers another chop. Flair charges into a backdrop though. Arn punches away on Ric, but Flair counters a suplex into one of his own. Back in the ring, Flair delivers his stalling suplex. As they lay side by side, it looks like they’re laughing. Delayed cover for Ric gets two. Flair hits AA with more chops. Anderson tries to come back with a sunset flip. Flair stands strong, but misses the fist drop. Flair takes another whip into the corner for a possible Flair Flip, but he gets tied up in the tree of woe instead and Arn has fun with that. Arn calls for the DDT, but Flair hooks the top rope to block it. Flair heads up top for the slam, which gets two for Arn. Now Arn comes off the second rope and gets nailed. Between the two of them, they may have connected with something off the second or top rope twenty times in twenty years. FIGURE-FOUR! Arn starts to NO-SELL and turns the hold over. The damage is done though. Flair chopblocks Arn and tries for it again, but Arn counters with a small package for 1-2-NO! Arn collapses to the mat to sell the knee as Brian Pillman hops up on the apron. He yells at Flair, so Flair tells him to get out of here. Pillman keeps yelling at Flair and pops him one time. Flair jumps back up and nails Pillman. With Flair turned around, Pillman kicks Flair in the back of the head to get him staggered for the DDT from Arn! Cover, 1-2-3! (23:05) It’s definitely not a job Flair minded doing, I’m sure. Like I said before, an excellent example of good psychology and selling. You might not like the finish, but it leaves the door open for a part two and actually causes Arn and Flair to switch roles. While Arn Anderson is one of the greatest tag team performers of any generation, this was his best singles match and that’s not a knock in any way. ****
Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Zodiac, Shark, Kamala & Meng (w/Kevin Sullivan) – Wargames Match
If Hogan’s team wins, then Hogan gets five minutes with Kevin Sullivan in the cage. Hogan doesn’t have to put up anything? Well, I guess what sucks for the Hogan team is that Hogan and Savage don’t trust Lex Luger while Sting will stick with his buddy Lex no matter what so it seems. You gullible babyface, you. Hogan’s team is all wearing matching green fatigues and camouflage face paint. Sting and Shark start the match. I would have started with Sting and Meng since they have go one-on-one for five minutes, but hey what do I know. Why would putting two wrestlers together who have proven on the last two PPVs that they can compete on a decent level. Are we supposed to forget the fact that those two matches happened simply because Meng isn’t with the Stud Stable anymore? Oh well. So yeah, Sting and Shark kick things off. As you might expect, Shark uses his fat (or is it blubber? No, that’s whale fat) and his deadly shark teeth to chomp up Sting. He makes a comeback and wants a Stinger Splash, but Shark heads into the ring where Sting SLAMS Shark on the first try and hurts his back. If he had just failed on the first try, his back might not be so sore! Well he fails on the second slam as Shark falls on top of him. A bearhug from Shark (shark hug?) knocks off another minute or so. Shark tries to splash Sting from side of the ring to the other as though he WAS Sting and gets stuck on top of the ropes for some gut kicking. Sting tries to splash Shark in between the rings, but gets caught and tossed back into the ring. Sting goes after the legs though and clamps on a SCORPION DEATHLOCK as the first period ends. Thank God. The Dungeon of Dummies win the coin toss, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who has seen a Wargames match and is probably the ONLY advantage they have. In comes Zodiac to save Shark. They double-team Sting with chokes and splashes. Savage enters in for the third period and goes INSANE on Shark and Zodiac. Sting’s arms and Savage’s legs get stuck underneath the cage for Meng and Kamala to play with every now and then. There’s biting and punching. Nothing real interesting. Kamala comes in for the heels. It’s your typical segment of disadvantage for the babyfaces. Lex Luger makes the save and wipes everybody out. Zodiac gets sent into the cage, but there’s no bloodshed here. Right before Meng takes his turn to enter Wargames, Savage and Luger start fighting one another when Lex misses a clothesline on Zodiac and nails Savage by mistake. Sting has to separate them, but he’s stopped by a fresh Meng. He tears the good guys apart as all four Dungeon of Doom members have entered the cage. As the heels are conquering Hogan’s crew, Schiavone appears to have all but given up on them! ALL HOPE IS LOST! Hogan comes in and cheats like a muthatrucker by throwing powder in everybody’s eyes. Heenan ~ “It’s kind of like Bosnia in a cage!” Schiavone ~ “Well, I don’t know about that.” There was a time when Tony Schiavone would deny ridiculous hyperbole? No way! More mindless brawling continues with the camera focused on what Hogan’s doing like throwing the Dungeon guys into the cage a bunch. Of course, no blood is spilled. Hogan finally takes us home by making Zodiac submit to a camel clutch. (18:48) It’s all for you, Sheiky baby. Security brings Kevin Sullivan back to the ring and inside the cage with Hogan. The fight goes in and out of the ring until The Giant walks down the aisleway. He picks up referee Randy “Pee Wee” Anderson with one hand and steps inside the cage to face Hogan. He leaps over both sets of ring ropes and grabs Hogan from behind by the neck. Hogan breaks loose and fires away, but there’s no effect whatsoever. Giant grabs him by the throat and wrings Hogan’s neck! Now Sting, Luger and Savage run in for the save, but the Giant and Sullivan are long gone. Easily the worst Wargames match to date. *½
Final Thoughts: I would have truly been satisfied if they had stopped with the Arn/Flair match. If you’re not going to do Wargames the right way where I don’t even feel like the babyfaces are in any real danger, then it shouldn’t be done at all. However, this show was a real turnaround show that WCW needed at the time with the focus being taken off the Dungeon of Doom and more on making The Giant a legit star, who was the only good thing to ever come out of that terrible stable. On the other hand, you had guys like Johnny B. Badd and Brian Pillman who had been held down over the past year who were given ample time to put together a great match. I mean who gets thirty minutes of PPV time that’s not the main event? Plus, you have guys like Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Eddie Guerrero to provide excellent mid-card matches. Of course they’re not on this PPV, but it’s coming. All the same, this is a feel-good show with lots of fun nostalgia. If you grew up watching this stuff, you’ll love it. If not, you may want to take a pass. I’ll think I’ll go with a mild thumbs up for Fall Brawl 1995. I mean you don’t want to miss out on Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson. Come on.