Friday, January 14, 2011
Scott Watches SuperBrawl: Return From the Rising Sun
This is, oddly enough, a show I have watched way too many times in my life. I'm hoping sentimental value will carry me through this. Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes at the Bayfront Arena in St. Petersburg, Florida on May 19. The rematch between Flair and Fujinami headlines tonight, but if you know your 1991 WCW, you know that match is not the reason to watch this show. This is the commercial release (most of these are) but here's what got cut: Dan Spivey def. Ricky Morton, Nikita Koloff def. Tommy Rich, Dustin Rhodes def. Terrance Taylor, Big Josh def. Black Bart, Oz def. Tim Parker. Also, Johnny B. Badd debuted in a segment, and Oz's smoke was sulfur-based so the building stunk the rest of the night.
Vacant WCW United States Tag Team Title: The Young Pistols v. The Fabulous Freebirds
DDP's Garth Brooks mic is on so we get to hear him tell Big Daddy Dink to light up his cigar, then says, "I'll take off, I'll take off," and then calls them on down the aisle. Great stuff. This company knew production. Jimmy Jam has dropped all subtleties and has just decided to go in pink for this one. Steve! and Tracy! they've been renamed as the Young Pistols. The Pistols are portrayed as nervous for their "first trip to the dance," which is uh, great if you're pretending they aren't the Southern Boys. Brad Armstrong enters the ring and takes his jacket off, which realistically should have the Pistols disqualified, but it doesn't. This winds up with Brad! leaving and Big Daddy Dink getting ejected. Pistols-Birds matches had gotten a little tired before this one, but for whatever reason all these guys are up for this one and they're working in plenty of new stuff. Freebirds take the advantage by double-teaming Tracy outside. After a high-risk maneuver from both Pistols backfires, Smothers comes back with a flying double clothesline, then sends both Freebirds outside. Steve! leaps onto both from the top to the floor. Ref gets bumped on what would be the finish from the Pistols, then a feathered and masked Brad Armstrong delivers a couple of DDTs, leaves feathers all over, and Hayes gets the pin for the belts.
Backstage, Missy Hyatt is outside the locker room. She's goin' in! "Oh, Z-Man! Oh, Flyin' Brian, I'm here! OH!! It's Terry Taylor!" So they leave this in and address the situation with Taylor and Dustin Rhodes, which isn't on the tape. So Missy approaches the shower, but Stan Hansen is back again. Taylor laughs at her misfortune.
Taped Fist Match: Flyin' Brian v. Barry Windham
Pillman is all fire to start, and Barry is concerned that Brian doesn't know the rules. "This might be the lickin' you gonna get for the lickin' I got!" Dusty is a poet. Windham bleeds, but then drops Pillman off the ramp into the guard rail. A vocal handful of Windham fans chant "Barry" as the match heads back to the ring. Pillman hits a spinwheel kick, or spinning savate kick according to Ross, and Pillman unloads with chest slaps, which sort of defeats the purpose of the taped fist match, doesn't it? Ross just absolutely will not shut up about football, ever. There's hell in these men, and Jim Ross says they're literally beating it out of each other. Heads collide and both are down, but not for long. Windham has a suplex reversed. Windham wins with the superplex after a low blow, then keeps hammering Pillman after. Rhodes says that the superplex is the most famous maneuver in professional wrestling outside of the figure four. OK then! I believe it!
Stretcher Match: Sid Vicious v. El Gigante
This lasts all of two minutes. There was great fear that Sid, who was leaving for the WWF, wouldn't even show up, so the company form sheet actually had this being Gigante against the One Man Gang. But he did show. Sid eats a clothesline and bails. Claw pins Sid. Sid up and walks out like nothing happened. One Man Gang and Kevin Sullivan come in. Gang bumps immediately, then Gigante throws Sullivan. Gang bumps over the top to the ramp. Sid never does get on the stretcher. Sullivan oddly holds the stretcher still so that Gang can be put onto it, but then Sullivan throws powder in his eyes. Sullivan hits him with a chain, Gang hits him with the stretcher, Gigante sells about as well as ... uh, something that sucks at selling. Then the heels leave. It's a wonder this wasn't a money program.
Cage Match: Ron Simmons v. Butch Reed
Teddy Long is suspended in a cage of his own. You know, in case he wants to climb over the cage and interfere. Ross has a hard-on for mentioning that Simmons is Burt Reynolds' favorite wrestler, because Burt was such a hot commodity at the time. Ron starts hot, Reed takes over, and the pacing is really deliberate. Simmons blades. Crowd is pretty well dead as this feud didn't get over at all because people didn't care about Reed and Simmons wasn't yet where he would be. Reed hits the flying shoulderblock, but Simmons gets a foot on the rope. Long tosses a little bitty chain into the ring, which Simmons almost gets, but Reed manages to grab it. Ron ducks it, spinebuster finishes things. Kind of a weak-looking win for Simmons.
WCW World Tag Team Title: The Steiner Brothers (c) v. Sting & Lex Luger
It's really surprising how heated this is for a double babyface match, considering how underwhelming the reaction was to Steiners-Road Warriors at Starrcade '89, which was a first-time ever matchup. I guess you can argue that the Steiners are a bigger deal now than they were then, which is true, but the Warriors were still crazy over and the Steiners were on their heels as the team of the future. Then again this is also isn't in a dumbass tournament nobody likes so there's that, too. I remember the first time I saw this match, which was after it had happened, and I was shocked by how good it was. It instantly became one of my favorite matches. Once I got online and became familiar with star ratings and all that, I wondered how some of my favorite matches were viewed by these super smart fans. To my mild surprise, this was regarded as a classic and had won some Match of the Year stuff, too. I mean, I knew PWI had this as Match of the Year, but PWI had lots of things as Match of the Year.
The pace and intensity of this match is excellent. You have to figure that these guys could feel some of the crowd buzz and just stepped it up even more. Steiner flattens Luger with a Steinerline, but moments later Lex comes back and turns Rick inside out, INSIDE OUT, with a lariat of his own. Sting gets the tag, and quickly hits a dive to the floor on Rick to keep the crowd rolling along with them. Rick no-sells a faceslam, then turns Rick over and drives him into the corner, which is a Steiner trademark. Stinger Splash misses, so here comes Scott. Crowd is ready to go. Scott runs in, double underhook bombs Sting, and loses his SHIT. Tilt-a-whirl and Steiner keeps screaming at the crowd. Sting hotshots him. Fuck it -- I like this match more than I like the Hase/Sasaki-Steiners match in Japan. My bias toward American wrestling helps that, but this is a similar match with four guys all on point and the pace just that bit higher. It is constant action. The breakdown of the four friends starting to get chippy with each other is really well-executed. Only thing that kinda stinks is the finish, where Nikita Koloff runs in and nails Sting with a chain, although Koloff was aiming for Luger. Steiners retain and everyone is still friends.
Tony is with Koloff backstage, but Sting is racing down the runway. STEEEENK! WAS IN THE WRONK PLACE. AT THE WRONK TIME. THASSWAHSS GOINON. They fight out to the parking lot and Nikita runs away.
WCW World Television Title: Arn Anderson (c) v. Beautiful Bobby Eaton
One of those rock solid Arn Anderson matches. Anderson and Eaton both bump on the ramp pretty early, after Arn finds out that he's in with a strong contender. Eaton is in tremendous shape for this match, reportedly because he was really going hard on his cardio to get ready for a coming big match with Ric Flair. Eaton makes a comeback after losing ground early to Arn, and then goes up for the Alabama Jam. Barry Windham appears for the screwjob, but Flyin' Brian is right behind him and cuts that off. Eaton hits the Jam, wins the belt, and hugs Nick Patrick. This was Bobby's first singles title since holding the Georgia TV title for a day in 1981, and would be his last, too.
WCW World Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair (c) v. Tatsumi Fujinami
Why the fuck does Flair have his chef and his maid there? This one's a hair better than the Tokyo Dome match, in large part because they have that match to work from, and their familiarity is stronger. Fujinami isn't dogging it, like you might expect of a guy coming to the States to lose in front of a few thousand people instead of 65,000 or whatever when he got the emotional and huge, if controversial, victory over the American superstar Ric Flair. Flair blades after getting posted. Fujinami gets a bunch of near-falls, then runs into Tiger Hattori, giving Bill Alfonso (the second referee outside) the opportunity to come in and count Flair's roll-up (w/tights) for the win.
Despite having watched this show a ton over the years, the good stuff still holds up, and the show remains a favorite. So that's nice.
The Great: Steiners v. Sting/Luger
The Good: Flair-Fujinami, Anderson-Eaton, Pistols-Freebirds, Pillman-Windham
The Whatever: Simmons-Reed
The Crap: Gigante-Vicious