Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Superbrawl III
February 21, 1993
Asheville Civic Center
The current WCW & NWA Champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Big Van Vader (12/30/1992)
NWA World Champion: The Great Muta (1/4/1993)
WCW U.S. Champion: Dustin Rhodes (1/11/1993)
WCW/NWA World Tag Team Champions: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (11/18/1992)
WCW World Television Champion: vacant (11/1/1992)
Right off the bat, Eric Bischoff announces alongside Missy Hyatt that Ron Simmons is out with a shoulder injury and that Maxx Payne will get his US title shot instead. After that disturbing news, Missy says that she’s going to get a big interview later on in the evening with GUESS WHO! Johnny B. Badd makes an appearance to talk about how great he thinks WCW is. That new deal he signed must’ve been really something. Maxx Payne plays the national anthem on his axe. He’s got nothing on Jimi Hendrix. NOW LET’S HOOK EM UP!
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura.
Brian Pillman & Steve Austin vs. Erik Watts & Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Not sure if there was an injury or that Shane Douglas was so pissed off that a certain someone was going to be in the building on this particular night that he just flat out refused to be anywhere near Asheville or what, but I don’t see why they couldn’t have done the blowoff and the tag title switch here. Bagwell and Austin start the match trading armlocks. Austin cheapshots Bagwell to end that, but then Bagwell cleans house on the heels. Back in, Watts tags and the crowd begins to boo! HAHAHA! Watts gets stuck in the heel corner as Pillman tags. Pillman chops, but Watts armdrags him over – sort of. Back to Austin and Bagwell. Bagwell hits a crossbody for two, then goes to a headlock. Watts tags back in and we get more boos. Of course, Tony and Jesse completely ignore it. Poor kid. Ab stretch is applied to Austin, but he hiptosses out and tags Pillman. Bagwell corners Pillman for a ten-count corner punch, but Pillman brings him out for an atomic drop. It doesn’t work and Pillman avoids the clothesline, but not on the second try. That gets two. Watts is back in, and we get more boos. At least they’re consistent. Austin tries a splash, but hits knees and Watts grabs a Boston crab. Pillman finally comes in and breaks it up with a stomp, drawing a positive reaction from the crowd. Pillman tags and kicks Watts around, but he blocks one of those kicks and goes for the STF. Pillman’s in the ropes though. He sells a knee injury, but it’s all a setup for a cheapshot. SWEET! Watts gets dumped, but avoids a dive off the apron so Pillman can do his chest-first bump on the guardrail. Back in, Pillman yanks Watts into his corner and tags Austin. Double back elbow puts Watts up and OVER the top rope. I love it. That was a pretty nasty bump. Bagwell comes in to protest all the “injustice”, which ends up being more trouble for Watts than all the arguing is worth. Silly babyfaces – they never learn! Back in again, Watts blocks a sunset flip, but Pillman nails him from behind to keep the advantage where its at for the Hollywood Blondes. The Blondes cheat and kick Erik around for a little bit longer. They go for the Rocket Launcher, but Watts gets the knees up. HOT TAG TO BAGWELL? No! Austin cuts him off with a back suplex! Awesome. Cover, 1-2-NO! Austin tries a Bossman straddle, but misses to finally set up that HOT TAG TO BAGWELL! He goes PUNCH CRAZY on the heels. Powerslam to Pillman leads to a pier-six brawl. Bagwell hits the FISHERMAN SUPLEX on Pillman, but Austin lowers the boom on him from the middle rope. Pillman covers for the 1-2-3. (16:34) Oh yeah. No doubt about it, they are the #1 contenders. As good of a match as the Blondes could get out of Watts and Bagwell. **¾
Ric Flair is here tonight! WOO! Missy Hyatt thinks she can just walk up to the Nature Boy’s limo for an interview, but that’s not going to happen. Security stops her and a lady cop frisks her, which is something she’s used to I’m sure. There are thunderous “We Want Flair” chants as we go back to ringside.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Chris Benoit
This is Benoit’s first PPV match. Yeah, like you didn’t know. Benoit controls to start with a snap suplex. Scorpio hits a crossbody out of the corner Shelton Benjamin-style for two. Spinning heel kick puts Benoit on the floor for a bit. They transition in and out of wristlocks with cartwheels, which is pretty cool. Scorpio applies a hammerlock on the mat using his feet and falls back to really screw up Benoit’s arm. Benoit escapes and grabs a hammerlock of his own, but then Scorpio flips out and armdrags Benoit out to the floor. Sounds simple, but it was a great sequence that you just have to see. Back in, they do a test of strength with both guys bridging on the mat to avoid getting pinned. Scorpio flips out of that and dropkicks Benoit down before going back to the arm. Benoit punches out, but takes a superkick to the face! Scorpio reverts back to the arm. Ricky Steamboat must be proud watching this. Benoit escapes and ducks another spin kick, so he drops Scorpio with a clothesline. He delivers a backbreaker, so Scorpio knees Benoit in the face to get out. He grabs a chinlock for a while and then drapes Scorpio across the top rope the hard way. Benoit follows up by kicking Scorpio out to the floor. Jesse talking to Tony ~ “High impact blows with the foot? Why don’t you just say he’s kicking the heck out of him?” Back in, Scorpio misses a missile dropkick! Benoit covers for 1-2-NO! Back to the chinlock. Scorpio elbows out, but Benoit catches him with a spinebuster and applies an elevated Boston crab! Since Scorpio doesn’t tap, Benoit goes back to the chinlock with fives minutes left in the 20-minute time limit. Of course that’s WCW time. He then places Scorpio on the top turnbuckle for a back superplex! Benoit hurts himself in the process too to get more impact, but it only gets a two-count. Russian legsweep gets two. Then out of nowhere, Scorpio falls back on Benoit during a back suplex for 1-2-NO! Scorpio ducks low off a whip, allowing Benoit to drill him with a powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Benoit wants another powerbomb, but Scorpio slips away and tries a sunset flip. Too bad its botched. Benoit eats a knee in the corner, followed by an enziguri. Scorpio misses a pair of spinning heel kicks, but not a clothesline. He connects with a 360 degree corner splash to set up a Corkscrew Moonsault for 1-2-NO! Scorpio wants a victory roll, but Benoit slams him face-first to the mat to put a stop to it. There’s 45 seconds left in the time limit! HURRY HURRY HURRY! Benoit hits a guillotine leg drop for 1-2-NO! He tries for a Dragon Suplex, but Scorpio slips out and rolls Benoit up for 1-2-3! Good thing there was only one second left in the time limit! (18:23 real time) Phenomenal match. While there was talk of reviving the light heavyweight title division right around this time with these two guys at the forefront, nothing ever came from it. Too bad, really. Paul Heyman would take these two guys in when WCW didn’t want them anymore and gave them a job. ****¼
Maxx Payne plays “Taps” on his guitar Norma Jean as to signify what’s going to happen to Dustin Rhodes tonight.
Davey Boy Smith vs. “Wild” Bill Irwin
So Davey Boy Smith draws 80,000 at Wembley Stadium and gets released from the WWF three months later and ends up in WCW. I’m sure he helped out drawing people on WCW’s European Tour throughout the spring. Anyways, this is Davey Boy’s first WCW match. Clothesline, Press Slam, Hourglass Suplex, and the RUNNING POWERSLAM. You add in a little bit of jobber offense, and this is what you get. (5:49) Bulldog gets a push all the way to the top for the rest of the year until he high-tails it back to the WWF just in time for the Bret/Owen feud. *½
Paul Orndorff vs. Cactus Jack – Falls Count Anywhere
Cactus chases Orndorff to the ring during a pre-match interview with the shovel that he’s been using a lot lately. For some reason, ref Randy Anderson stops Cactus from using the shovel to cause him to get kicked in the head by Orndorff. He takes Cactus to the guardrail, but then Cactus blocks on a second try and sends Orndorff face-first instead. Cactus lifts up the ringside mat and slams Orndorff on the concrete and follows up with a running elbow drop for 1-2-NO! He then comes off the middle rope for a sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Naturally, that hurts Cactus more than it does Orndorff. They finally make it in the ring where Orndorff controls with kicks and clotheslines. They go back to the floor where Orndorff double ax-handles Cactus into the guardrail. Orndorff then takes Cactus up the rampway over the corner of the guardrails! HOLY crap. Even after that, Cactus fires back and sends Orndorff over the railing. Now Orndorff fires back on Cactus and then gives him a SUPLEX ON THE RAILING! OWWWW. Orndorff brings Cactus back to the ring and goes after the previously hurt knee. He then decides to suplex Cactus BACK OVER the top rope onto the apron! What the heck is Orndorff thinking? Jack’s knee brace comes off, which makes him easy pickings in the figure-four. Cactus punches out to break, but Orndorff takes him back out to the floor again. He does more damage to the knee by slamming it onto the concrete. Next up, Orndorff hits Cactus in the face with his own knee brace. BUT THE MAN WON’T STAY DOWN! Orndorff grabs a chair and whacks the knee a few times. Now he calls for the PILEDRIVER on the chair, but Cactus grabs his trusty shovel. Orndorff doesn’t see it coming and turns around…WHAM! Cactus covers for 1-2-3! (12:17) This next statement shouldn’t surprise you, but Cactus bumped like a crazy person in this one. Paul Orndorff did an amazing job as well here. Another fantastic match on this card. ****
SMW Tag Team Champions The Heavenly Bodies (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock N Roll Express
This is during the short working agreement between WCW and Smoky Mountain Wrestling, which was headed up by Jim Cornette and Stan Lane at the time. It makes a lot of sense for them to be at this show considering it’s in Asheville North Carolina, which is SMW territory. The Heavenly Bodies actually wrestled a match with SMW in Johnson City Tennessee earlier that day, which is about an hour drive between the two cities. Bobby Eaton tries to hang around ringside with Corny for the match, but he’s sent to the back immediately since he’s not a manager. Sadly, they cut off Stan Lane with the RNR Express music before he can introduce Jim Cornette. It’s been 2 ½ years since we’ve seen the RNR Express together and they still look exactly the same. Of course, Ricky Morton still looks exactly the same now in 2008. That guy’s still sticking with the mullet. Morton and Gibson hit Pritchard with headscissors takedowns to start. Lane sneaks a tag, but it doesn’t work and he gets caught in an armbar from Morton. Lane makes several attempts at a tag, but he fails every time. The Heavenly Bodies wind up colliding into one another. Lane whips Morton into the corner, but Gibson leaps in front to cushion the blow. Pritchard tries the same thing with Lane, but Gibson runs in and kicks Pritchard off the corner while Morton reverses the whip on Lane back into the opposite corner. While Pritchard’s dazed in the corner, Morton whips Lane into him anyway. The RNR clean house – allowing the Bodies to get some luv from Cornette. Jesse makes a crack about gay people in the military. Back in, Pritchard goes nuts on Morton in the corner, but he comes back and atomic drops him into Lane. Gibson tags in, but the double back drop fails. He nails Pritchard with an enziguri for two. Morton tags and Pritchard tries to get Morton in his corner, but he punches out and everyone comes to a stale mate. Cornette causes Ricky to get distracted. Lane and Morton do a criss-cross, but Morton decides to leave and chases Cornette into the ring so that he collides with Lane. The Bodies try to revive him, but wind up taking a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER instead. This time Cornette grabs Morton’s foot off a whip, allowing Lane to knee him from behind and send him out to the floor. Meanwhile on the floor, Cornette gets in shot with the tennis racket. Back in, Lane delivers his SWANKY slingshot clothesline, followed by some hip swiveling. Gibson gets drawn in so the Bodies can double-team. Morton plays face-in-peril for a while, which has the same relation to Thomas Edison and the light bulb. One of the cooler double-team moves done to Morton was where Pritchard lifted Morton up for a suplex and Lane slingshots in with the clothesline to double the impact of the move. Cornette distracts the ref while Morton gets a desperation sunset flip on Lane. Pritchard stomps Morton while Lane slips out of the ring. Morton telegraphs a backdrop, so Pritchard lifts him up for a sitout powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Lane tags in and Morton starts to fire up, but he cuts him off with a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Now Pritchard tags back in and they try for a double backdrop, but Morton counters with a double DDT. HOT TAG TO GIBSON! The RNR connect with the DOUBLE DROPKICK on Pritchard. The ref tries to get Morton out of the ring, leaving Gibson covering Pritchard with nobody to count! Cornette gets brought in by Gibson, but that causes a distraction long enough for Pritchard to regroup and nail him with a running bulldog. He covers, but the ref is still with Morton. Wait, here he comes. He counts 1-2-NO! Cornette gets the attention of the ref while Gibson gets sent over the top rope by Pritchard. Lane comes over to the ref to argue along with Cornette while Morton atomic drops Pritchard. He covers as Bobby Eaton runs back down to ringside and climbs up top. He jumps off attempting to hit Morton, but Pritchard gets nailed instead. Ref Nick Patrick finally just shoves Cornette away. Eaton gets knocked out of the ring while Gibson covers Pritchard for 1-2-3. (12:54) That finish was ridiculous, but the match was some good old fashioned tag wrestling. The RNR Express would meet the Pritchard/Del Ray version of the Heavenly Bodies at Survivor Series up in Boston nine months later. That was another good match, but was completely rejected by the crowd. ***¾
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Dustin Rhodes vs. Maxx Payne
Not sure why they thought Maxx Payne was a suitable substitution for Ron Simmons, but I guess they were just trying something new by giving Payne a chance to shine. Rhodes starts off fast and furious with Payne. He then goes to work on the arm for the next minutes. Then Payne goes to work on the arm, which makes sense considering his finisher is a cross armbreaker. Rhodes makes the big comeback and hits the Lariat, because he’s a Texan. Suplex gets two, then he goes to an abdominal stretch. Payne pulls the ref into him to escape the hold, which gets him DQ’ed. (11:27) Not good at all. I’m thinking they wanted to see if Payne could hang and he failed here in my eyes. Of course, any of the other top US title contenders were busy with other feuds, so I’m guessing Payne was about their only option. *
NWA World Heavyweight Champion The Great Muta vs. Barry Windham
Ric Flair joins Tony and Jesse on commentary to give the match a bigger feel to it. Humungous “We Want Flair” chants throughout the pre-match instructions. Jesse mentions the 60-minute time limit for this match and then puts Flair over as being the 60-minute man. Then Tony chimes in and says, “And Flair always liked them big too – the big guys.” Hmm. We get a test of strength to start. Windham flips Muta over and then we go to a headlock on the mat. Windham escapes with a right hand, but Muta puts him down with a dropkick. Windham escapes again and tries a suplex, but Muta counters into one of his own. He follows up with the Power Drive elbow drop and reverts back to the headlock. Windham fights out again and avoids a dropkick when Muta tries to regain control. Barry hits the DDT and then knocks Muta out to the floor. Windham follows him out and gives Muta a back suplex on the ringside mat. He then gives him a suplex back in for two. A pair of knee drops connect for another two. Windham grabs a sleeper and once Muta falls to the mat, Windham uses the ropes for leverage. Naturally, Flair watches on with glee. Muta’s arm drops once, drops twice, but then the ref catches Barry’s feet on the ropes and calls for the break. Windham maintains control with a gutwrench suplex for two. Muta gets a surge of energy, so Windham rakes the eyes. He gets another energy burst, but Windham blocks a sunset flip to keep him grounded. Muta ducks a clothesline and hits a desperation crossbody for 1-2-NO! Windham fires back and wants a Piledriver, but Muta backdrops him to counter. Windham doesn’t give Muta an inch and stays on top of him with kicks to the face. He wants the SUPERPLEX, but Muta JUDO CHOPS him down and follows up with Steamboat Judo Chop. Handspring Elbow connects and so does the Backbreaker to set up the MOONSAULT, but Windham moves out of the way. Windham wants a suplex, but Muta slips out and delivers a back suplex. He gets another surge of energy and goes for the MOONSAULT, but Windham gets the knees up to block and delivers the IMPLANT DDT for the 1-2-3. (24:10) Shave off about ten minutes of that and it would’ve been a lot better. Most of it was either spent in a headlock or Windham kicking Muta around and not really doing anything. It was just being long for no real reason. Ric Flair hand-delivers and puts the NWA belt on Windham – basically reminding him that he’s baaaaack. **¼
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. Sting – non-title “White Castle of Fear” leather strap match
This would be the rubber match in the Sting/Vader saga. Vader beat Sting for the WCW world title at the Great American Bash last July, Sting defeated Vader at Starrcade last December, and now here we are at Superbrawl. Vader slings Sting around by the strap to start. Then he starts whipping Sting like he’s less than human. Vader hits a splash off the middle-rope and takes some time to bark at the crowd, leaving Sting alone long enough for him to rise up and crotch Vader with the strap in between his legs. Basically when Sting yanks the strap, Vader punches himself in the balls. Sting knocks Vader to the mat and then comes off the middle-rope with a clothesline. Sting follows up with a pair of flying splashes! Vader looks totally out already! Sting pulls down Vader’s straps and returns the favor with bareback whipping. Race gets nailed off the apron as Vader rolls out to the floor. Sting goes to the floor and pulls Vader into the ringpost a couple times and then goes for the win by touching the ringposts out on the floor! After he touches two corners, Vader yanks him into the guardrail. Back in, Sting gives Vader a fireman’s carry drop. He wants a Stinger Splash, but Vader’s waiting in the weeds with a body block. Sting tries it again and meets the same fate. Vader wants a VADERBOMB, but Sting manages to backdrop him over. Sting climbs up top for another flying splash, but Vader knows it coming and moves out of the way. Vader gives him a splash and follows up with a fireman’s carry drop of his own to set up a Pump Splash. He reverts back to whipping Sting as Jesse makes a joke about Tony beating his children. Vader then one-ups himself by giving Sting a fireman’s carry drop off the middle-rope! Vader starts touching corners while he drags Sting around, but Sting kicks Vader away after the second corner. Vader wants another pump splash, but Sting moves. Vader heads up top again and gets pulled down. Doesn’t matter much, because Vader is the first guy up. He gives Sting a superplex and starts tapping the corners again. He reaches three, but Sting hooks the bottom rope with his feet and then manages to kick Vader down. Vader just freakin’ unloads on Sting in the corner. He starts to pull Sting into him for easy splashes, so Sting counters on the third pull with a front flip kick. Sting fires back and connects with a release German suplex. DDT! Now it’s Sting who unloads in the corner. He lifts Vader up on his shoulders, knocking the ref down with Vader’s kick by accident in the process. He touches three corners, but then trips over the ref and doesn’t reach the fourth corner. Ahhhhhh. Vader pump splashes Sting for the second time and drags Sting to three corner with no trouble. Once he goes for the fourth corner, Sting grabs onto the bottom rope! Sting fights it with all he’s got! In an attempt to stifle Vader, he kicks Vader off into the corner to give him the win. (20:57) Wow, Sting took ANOTHER insane beating from Vader. This is the kind of rivalry where you cringe every time Vader does something to Sting, and you cheer louder and louder with every move Sting does to Vader. Oddly enough, Sting walked away with a cut forehead. As for Vader in his so-called specialty match – his own ‘White Castle of Fear’ – he walked with a lacerated back and a busted artery in his ear. ****¼
Final Thoughts: Thus signals the end of the Bill Watts era in WCW. From here on until Russo, it’s Eric Bischoff all the way. In that regard alone, it’s a historic PPV. For those Bischoff haters out there, they may call Superbrawl 3 the last great WCW PPV ever. That’s definitely a debate for another day, but this all by itself was a fantastic PPV. It was everything you would expect from a Bill Watts show and more. While the guy didn’t do everything right during his time with WCW, he most definitely left us on a high note. And hey, he brought Flair back, didn’t he? Thumbs up for Superbrawl 3.