Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Fall Brawl
September 15, 1996
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Ric Flair (7/7/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (7/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (8/20/1996)
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio (7/8/1996)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby Heenan.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
So lately, DDP has been dishing out Diamond Cutters to both Eddie and Chavo, but Eddie’s gone to Japan kicking tail as the Black Tiger, so Chavo gets his big chance to be on PPV and avenge his family name all at the same time. Chavo doesn’t play around and dropkicks Page out to start for a butt-kicking on the floor. Not sure where he gets it from, but Chavo finds somebody’s belt and whips the crap out of DDP to play off what happened to him a few weeks back on Nitro when Page took off Nick Patrick’s belt and starting whipping *him* like a dog. Back in, Chavo hits a slingshot splash for 1-2-NO! He slows the pace down with an armbar. Page knees out and goes for a Tilt-A-Whirl Sideslam, but being one of DDP’s signature moves, Chavo counters into an armdrag. Page suckers him in for a dropkick while he’s stuck in the ropes, causing Chavo to miss and crash on the floor. Back in again, DDP hits a flying clothesline and the crowd erupts. Page puts the boots to him down on the mat and basically just keeps him grounded. Whoa, Page delivers a back suplex into a faceplant which is pretty cool. That gets two. Chavo tries to elbow out of the chinlock, but DDP keeps hold of him and drills him with a back elbow for two. Typical for Page, he whiffs on the big kick. He telegraphs a backdrop and takes a knee lift. Here comes Chavo with a springboard clothesline. Now he’s getting mad…LATINO MAD. Missile dropkick gets 1-2-NO! Flying headscissors gets another two. Chavo charges into an elbow in the corner and gets rolled up ala the NATCHA BOY for 1-2-NO! Just for fun, Page tosses Chavo into the other ring. He gets the Tilt-A-Whirl Sideslam, but Chavo comes back with the tilt-a-whirl headscissors. TILT-A-WHIRL CRAZY! Chavo charges Page and takes a HUGE awesome spinning powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Page calls for the Diamond Cutter, Chavo tries the counter that helped him beat DDP weeks ago with the backslide, but DDP slips out of that and hits the DIAMOND CUTTER for real for the 1-2-3. (13:08) Pretty exciting and definitely well booked match as it played off their finish from Nitro a couple weeks ago into the finish of this match. Psychological continuity can be a beautiful thing in wrestling. ***
WCW Special Report with Gene Okerlund: He brings everybody up-to-date concerning the WCW/nWo war dating back to Memorial day when Scott Hall first showed up all the way to last Monday when “Sting” joined the new World order.
Scott Norton vs. Ice Train (w/Teddy Long) – Submission Match
And the breakup of Fire N Ice. You’d think ‘fire’ would win hands down every time. They say Ice Train’s still got an injured shoulder even though it’s not wrapped up anymore, so you’d have to think that he’s going to go over now that they mention that. Ice Train hits a nice jumping splash on Norton, but misses a second one. Instead of making Ice Train submit, Norton seems to be trying to knock him out by delivering a DDT and then a back suplex. He stays on Ice Train, but then a whip reversal leads to a powerslam. Train goes after the neck, but Norton shoots out of the corner with a cross armbreaker. He’s REALLY not cranking on that at all. Ice Train comes back with a powerslam and hooks on the Fujiwara armbar. What’s the deal? There’s hardly any pressure put on that arm. Splash from Train hits knees. He tries to leapfrog Norton and gets caught for a spinebuster. That sets up the Boston crab, but Ice Train will not give. When that doesn’t work, Norton starts for the FUJIWARA ARMBAR as Teddy Long hops up on the apron. That just caused Norton to get SERIOUS and ratchet up the submission hold level by applying the stepover headscissors armbar. Obviously he learned that one in New Japan. I believe Kensuke Sasaki calls it the Strangle Hold Gamma. Anyways, Teddy Long returns to the apron to bring Norton off Train, which allows Ice Train to get up and apply the FULL NELSON. That takes Norton face down on the mat for the eventual submission. (5:17) Wow, WCW is defying basic laws of physics now. Better than their Hog Wild affair, but where are they going to go with this from here? *½
“Mexican Heavyweight Champion” Konnan (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Juventud Guerrera
This is Juvi’s PPV debut. Ha, Juventud backs up into the steps and trips. Way to go. Konnan just joined up with the Dungeon of Doom since they couldn’t think of anything better to do with him. Early on, Juvi tries to run but he keeps getting grabbed by Konnan. He gets turned inside out with a release German suplex and then thrown completely over the top rope to the floor. Enough of that, Juvi heads over to the second ring and shows off by springboarding to the top rope, jumps over to the other side of the top rope, leaps *again* back into the first ring and springs off the top rope into Konnan! A TRIPLE JUMP SPRINGBOARD SENTON! Holy crap. Cover, 1-2-NO! The 1-2-3 Kid kick combo in the corner sends Konnan to the floor for a suicide dive. Konnan NO SELLS and whips Guerrera into the guardrail, but he catches himself and springs off the top of the guardrail back onto Konnan for a headscissors, who decides to block it and drop Juvi with a powerbomb on the floor. Holy crap. Back in, Konnan explodes with the Rolling Lariat. Now Konnan starts up with the wacky submissions he’s known to do from time to time. Konnan kicks Juventud off into the other ring and he tries to rana Konnan back in while he’s in between the rings, but fails. Back to the floor, Juvi nails Konnan with a plancha. He brings him back inside for a springboard missile dropkick, but then takes a backdrop into the other ring and lands gut-first on the ropes. Juventud tries a springboard moonsault press, but Konnan was too far back. Instead, Konnan punishes him with a snap powerbomb. A pair of Germans sends Juvi out to rethink his game plan. He surprises Konnan with another springboard missile dropkick and then tries a sunset flip powerbomb off the apron, but Konnan punches out and dropkicks Juvi on the floor from the apron. ARIBA LA RAZA! Yeah, he’s starting to do that now too. Back inside, Konnan gets crotched, but Juventud does a silly back flip off the top instead of capitalizing, and gets nailed with a missile dropkick from Konnan. A few nearfalls leads to Juvi delivering a springboard spinning heel kick for 1-2-NO! Konnan counters to come back with a wheelbarrow suplex. From there, Juvi dropkicks Konnan in between the ropes and while he’s horizontal, he delivers a flying somersault legdrop for two. 450 SPLASH hits for 1-2-NO! Konnan catches Juvi trying a floatover out of the corner and drills him with the Spinebuster into the jackknife rollup for 1-2-NO! Muscle Buster connects for another nearfall, but the Splash Mountain finally gets the win. (13:45) A little sloppy in places which is standard Juventud Guerrera, but it was definitely fun to watch. ***¼
Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho makes his PPV debut here. Benoit abuses Jericho to start and the crowd LOVES it. He even applies what becomes the Liontamer. Finally, Jericho counters a powerbomb into a sunset flip. Spinning heel kick gets two. Dropkick to the back of the head sends Benoit rolling to the apron for the Springboard Dropkick to send him to the floor. Looks like Jericho wanted a springboard moonsault press to the floor, but he didn’t actually flip and just landed on Benoit AND the apron! NASTY. Back inside, the missile dropkick gets two. Powerbomb from Jericho gets two. Jericho delivers the Tiger Suplex for 1-2-NO! They battle to the apron where Benoit dumps Jericho to the floor with a back suplex. Back in the ring, Benoit gives Jericho the kitchen sink knee to the gut and then hangs him out to dry. Abdominal stretch is applied, but Jericho hiptosses out. Nevertheless, Benoit slams Jericho for the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT and the delayed cover gets two. Jericho gets a few surprise nearfalls on Benoit, but can’t follow up. They trade German suplex attempts, but Jericho gets the best of that with a Northern Lights suplex for two. He reverses a tombstone into his own and goes for the Lionsault, but takes too long and lands on his feet before exploding on Benoit with a clothesline! Cover, 1-2-NO! Top Rope Hurracanrana gets 1-2-NO! Jericho launches himself to the top off a corner whip, but gets crotched for a back superplex from Benoit. That’s enough to earn Benoit the 1-2-3. (14:46) Match of the night. Just great back and forth action. It’s Benoit-Jericho! You can’t hate on that. ***¾
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Super Calo
Super Calo makes our FOURTH PPV debut of the night and while he appears on a few other PPVs, this would be his only Cruiserweight title shot on PPV. Immediately, Rey armdrags Calo to the floor. Somebody lets out a HUGE ‘boring’ yell. It JUST started, dude. Anyways, Calo starts cranking on the arm. Mysterio counters out with a lucha armdrag. Rey flips out to the apron and answers back with a springboard headscissors. Calo rolls out and we see the fake dive from Rey that becomes the 6-1-9. Back in again, Calo nails Rey with a dropkick and then hits a slingshot powerbomb for 1-2-NO! Flying shoulderblock and a clothesline puts Mysterio on the floor. Calo follows him out with a missile dropkick to the floor. That seems really hard to do. After that’s over, Calo slams Rey near the ring and slingshots himself from the inside back out for a somersault senton! Nice. Back in, Calo gets two. They go into the other ring where Calo hits a rana out of the corner for two. Back to the other ring, Calo hooks on a short arm scissors. Dusty recalls a story where Pat O’Connor hooked on this hold for THIRTY MINUTES one time. Can you imagine? Thirty minutes for one hold? Ab stretch down on the mat leads into a surfboard. Mysterio escapes and slips out to the floor to regroup. Once Rey comes back in, he takes Calo to the floor for a somersault plancha that belongs on every WCW highlight reel. Back in, Rey springboards into a dropkick. OHHHH. Cover, 1-2-NO! Calo hasn’t forgotten about the arm and goes back to working on it. Once they make it to the apron, Rey fires back with his good arm and springs off the top rope to take Calo to the floor with a spinning headscissors! Well that was incredible. This time Rey steps up his game and nails Calo with a Springboard Somersault Plancha. AWESOME. Back inside, a springboard sunset flip gets 1-2-NO! Ha, Springboard Corkscrew Moonsault wipes out Calo for 1-2-NO! Geez, no wonder he has such trouble with his knees. He just gave us THREE full-on springboard moves in a row. Rey climbs up on Calo’s shoulders, but Calo falls back on him for two. Calo backdrops Rey in between the rings, but then he whiffs on a running dropkick. In order to one-up Juvi from earlier in the show, Rey back flips into the opposite ring, springs up onto and off the top rope, onto the top rope of the other ring, and then springs onto Calo for a hurracanrana for 1-2-3. (15:50) Wow what a contest. Calo was great, but he just didn’t bring anything to the table to differentiate him from anybody else. He just sort of took a lot of Rey’s stuff, so really anybody could have been in his position for the same effect. Even from just the way they have booked the Mysterio-Malenko feud lately, that match is already pretty much set for Halloween Havoc, so you knew the belt wasn’t in any kind of real danger. ***½
And here is where the PPV takes a massive turn.
WCW World Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (w/Col. Robert Parker & Sister Sherri) vs. The Nasty Boys
Tony says what everybody is already thinking – “And now for something completely different.” Lots of CLUBBERIN here with Sherri distracting the Nasties a bunch while they want to give Booker the Pit Stop. That causes Sags to give chase while the Heat double team Knobbs. He plays face in peril while he’s stuck in a chinlock. Sags gets the hot tag and looks to finish on Booker, but Sherri hops up on the apron and gets flipped into the ring. With Sherri down in the ring, Sags schoolboys Booker for 1-2-NO! He follows up with a PILEDRIVER for 1-2-NO! Sags heads up top for the FLYING ELBOW DROP, but Parker hooks his foot with his cane and trips him up. That causes Sags to go out after him, but it was all a set up as Stevie Ray wipes him out with a clothesline. Back inside, Booker nails Sags with the Ax Kick to send him rolling out to the floor. Back in, the Heat try a double-team, but Sags counters with a double face slam. HOT TAG TO KNOBBS! Running splash on Booker gets 1-2-NO! They send Stevie Ray out with a double shoulderblock. Again, the Nasties attempt to finish off Booker with a Pumphandle Slam from Sags. Here comes Knobbs with the Flying Splash. Col. Parker has the ref, so Sags punches him down and heads out after him. Meanwhile, Sherri slides into the ring and breaks Parker’s cane over Knobbs for the 1-2-3. (15:31) Might be the best Heat-Nasties match ever on PPV, but that’s not saying a whole lot. *½
Mike Tenay grabs Randy Savage for an interview. Even though he’s got the Giant tonight, he’s been THINKIN THINKIN THINKIN about ripping Hogan’s black heart out of his chest.
Randy Savage vs. The Giant
The Dungeon of Doom music plays for half of the Giant’s entrance until somebody in the production truck realizes that he’s part of the new World order now. Savage refuses to let Giant get into the ring, so Giant just pulls him out. Out on the floor, Savage goes for a slam. Big mistake. Into the ring, Giant proceeds to destroy Randy Savage. Backbreakers, Boston crabs, and bearhugs. Yeah, he’s out to break Savage’s back. Savage claws his way out of the bearhug and tries a Flying Double Ax Handle, but Giant catches him in mid-air and slams him down. Giant misses a jumping knee drop, so Savage concentrates on the knee and then leaps down off the top with a face slam. Cover, 1-2-NO! Giant presses Savage off him. That doesn’t bother Savage though, as he picks up Giant for the slam. He connects with the MACHO ELBOW, but here comes Hollywood Hogan for the distraction. Savage chases him up the aisleway, but it was all a trap as Hall and Nash run out the curtain to attack Savage with a chair. Meanwhile in the ring, ref Nick Patrick is yelling at the Giant about nothing. Once Hogan’s done, Hall and Nash send Savage back into the ring for the 1-2-3. (7:47) Silly Randy Savage. You’re not too bright, pal. How long have you been wrestling. Seriously. *
In the back, Sting confronts Arn, Flair, and Luger apparently for the first time all week. He tells them that he wasn’t at Nitro on Monday and that guy who is with the new World order isn’t him at all. Nobody seems to believe him, so Sting tells his team that he’ll see them out there and walks away.
Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & ??? (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson & Sting – Wargames Cage Match
On the Nitro prior to Fall Brawl, the nWo had everyone thinking that Sting had joined their crew by having what we thought was him join in on a backstage Lex Luger beatdown. Wild stuff and this was quite the intriguing scenario leading into Fall Brawl where Sting is supposed to be on WCW’s team to compete in Wargames. Onto the match, Scott Hall and perennial Wargames starter Arn Anderson begins the match. If I know anything about Wargames and I’ve seen a good chunk of them, it should have been Arn ripping into Hall like a monkey on a cupcake for five minutes, but instead the action goes back and forth. More Hall than Arn though. When Arn was in control, Bobby Heenan channels the spirit of David Crockett. WHIP HIM! WHIP LIKE A DOG! I love it. Arn hits the Spinebuster and my hometown of Winston-Salem erupts. Arn grabs a half crab and makes a big mistake by turning his back away from the entrance. The nWo naturally wins the coin toss since they’re the heels. Here comes Kevin Nash. Arn decks him real good, but Hall grabs hold of Arn as Nash catches him with a Big Boot. After two minutes of roughhousing, Lex Luger runs down ahead of the two-minute period and starts kicking butt with clotheslines while Arn regroups. Luger doesn’t need the steel cage – he’s got steel-plated forearms! Once the odds overwhelm Lex, Arn makes the save and hits a DDT on Nash! Hollywood Hogan joins the match. While Hall and Nash are down, Luger and AA enjoy a few moments of double-teaming Hogan in the corner. With the odds against Luger and Arn, it’s only a matter of time before the nWo start dishing out the beating again. Ric Flair evens the teams and dares Hogan to join him alone in the other ring! Hogan gets a shot in, but Flair ducks a big right hand and fires back. Out comes the taped knux! Down goes Hogan! Hall and Nash try to save their leader and both receive low blows. YES. Flair grabs a FIGURE-FOUR on Hogan, Hall takes a bunch of atomic drops from Luger, and AA has Nash being choked down in the corner. AWESOME. Well, I believe Cobra is a little off cue here. The Fake Sting finally arrives and he looks like Sting if you don’t, umm, look at him in the face. But then you watch him WRESTLE and it’s clearly not Sting at all. The crowd starts chanting “We want Sting!” Haha, oh WCW. The nWo foursome continue to destroy Arn, Lex, and Flair until the REAL Sting sprints down the aisle and into the ring. Tony, Bobby, and Dusty all admit they were wrong as Sting lays the smackdown on the entire nWo while Lex, Arn, and Flair stand back in disbelief. Once Sting is done dishing out the Stinger Splashes to everyone, he gives them the universal “up yours” sign to his team and leaves. Well, it’s over now. The Fake Sting and Hogan concentrate on Luger in one ring while Hall and Nash keep Flair and AA in the other ring. Fake Sting grabs a SCORPION DEATHLOCK while Hogan pulls up on Luger’s chin until he passes out to give the nWo the victory. (18:15) After the cage is lifted up, the nWo continue to destroy Luger in the aisleway as he tries to crawl to find Sting. Quite the dramatic moment for a wrestling match. Flair and AA try to save, but it’s Randy Savage who shows up and takes Hogan back into the ring. As Hogan cowers into the corner, the Giant grabs Savage from behind and turns him around for a CHOKESLAM. Not sure what happened to AA and Flair, but Hall, Nash, and DiBiase join Hogan and Giant in the ring to humiliate Savage some more. Elizabeth, who I don’t believe was really on good terms with Savage in storyline terms, comes down to try and stop the nWo. They’re all unimpressed, so while Liz lays on top of Savage, she gets the nWo letters sprayed on the back of her dress. Hogan gets on the mic and berates both of them for not being able to commit to their wedding vows. OUCH. Giant grabs the spray can and does the honors all over Savage’s back. While the booking was a tad off, the final Wargames match that anyone could call *great* in WCW. And because of the booking, I’m going to have to knock this down a peg from **** to ***½.
Final Thoughts: It’s pretty much accepted as an awesome show and I certainly agree. From cutting edge cruiserweight wrestling to the super emotional Wargames, this PPV just rules from top to bottom. The only match that was questionable was the Heat-Nasties match, but that shouldn’t surprise anybody. Thumbs up for Fall Brawl 1996. FIVE ***+ matches? C’mon. Watch it.