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WCW SuperBrawl 1991

by Scrooge McSuck

- Courtesy of the WWE Network. Originally presented on Pay-Per-View on May 19th, 1991, from the Bayfront Arena in St. Petersburg, FL. We’re at a point in WCW’s history where in-ring quality was taking a back-seat to goofy characters and trying to attract the children, WWF’s key demograph at the time. WCW had it’s share of off the wall characters and booking, but things were never as bad as it was in WWF when it came to one-dimensional gimmicks and shallow character development. Until now.

- Jim Ross and the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes (who calls it Super BOWL), are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. We’re promised 12 matches crammed into a 2 hour 40 minute block. Less is more, WCW. LESS IS MORE.

WCW U.S. Tag Team Championship Match:
The Young Pistols vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ DDP & Big Daddy Dink):

(Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong vs. Michael P.S. Hayes & Jimmy “Jam” Garvin)
This is to determine NEW Champions, as the Steiners had Vacated the Title (or jobbed them to Abeyance) after winning the World Tag Titles in one of the most ridiculous manners possible: They won them from the Freebirds at a TV taping on February 13th... but the Freebirds didn’t win them until Wrestle War ’91 on February 24th. Yep, the Freebirds have the honor of a negative length reign. If you’re wondering, yes, WCW would make the same head-scratching mistake again a few years later. Once again, we open a show with the Freebirds and Southern Boys/Young Pistols. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Armstrong and Hayes start. Hayes gets cocky early, allowing Armstrong to school boy him for a quick two count. Armstrong gets tossed to the floor, but he takes everyone, including Humperdink, out with clotheslines. Back inside, Dink trips him up, giving Hayes a chance to put the boots to him. Suddenly Brad Armstrong shows up and lobbies for Dink to get ejected from ringside. In a cute spot, the Freebirds actually avoid the often repeated spot of Steve Armstrong’s flying body press, only to get knocked to the floor for celebrating their brief moment of intelligence. Double shoulder tackle by the Pistols gets two. Hayes tries to get the crowd clap happy, but they rally behind the Young Pistols. Whip to the ropes, Garvin pulls them down on Smothers, and introduces him to the rail. Garvin boots him off the apron, taking a backwards bump into the rail. Back inside, Garvin with a slam for two. “Badstreet” chant from the same crowd that refused to cheer a minute ago. Smothers offers a comeback on Hayes but gets laid out with a left hook. Garvin in and immediately KO’ed with a super-kick. Armstrong gets the hot tag, sends Hayes to the ropes, and takes him over with a back drop. Slams to both Freebirds, and now all four men are in the ring. Pistols to the top rope, missing both of their missile dropkicks. Smothers from out of nowhere with a flying clothesline, followed by another clothesline, sending both to the floor. Armstrong follows, with a body press from the top rope! Back inside, Armstrong with the signature shoulder tackle from the top rope. They do it to Garvin too, but the referee gets knocked out. Suddenly some masked man in a feathered costume and mask with “Fantasia” on his shirt plants both Pistols with DDT’s, and the Freebirds are NEW U.S. Champions at 10:19. I guess the Fantasia thing had been hyped and this was the pay-off. “Fantasia” is a masked Brad Armstrong, but I don’t think he was ever unmasked. **1/2 Solid opener. I’m surprised they went with a different formula than we’ve typically seen from these two teams.

Ricky Morton vs. “Dangerous” Dan Spivey:

This feels like a major styles clash. Robert Gibson is still on the injured list, so Morton continues to flounder as a singles worker. I don’t think Spivey had much going for him during his brief tenure, other than a token title match with Luger at Wrestle War. Lockup into the corner, Spivey unloads with rights. Morton comes back with rights of his own, but Spivey tosses him to the floor. Morton keeps attacking, but barely has any effect. Whip to the ropes and Spivey plants him with a DDT. Fans really love the DDT in WCW. Whip and Spivey with a diving clothesline for two. Spivey with a Powerbomb (Razor’s Edge style). Morton teases a comeback, but a body press is countered with a fall-away slam. Spivey with a leg drop for two. Morton comes back with a Japanese Arm Drag and school boy for two. Whip to the ropes, Morton misses a dropkick. Spivey with another Powerbomb (standard version), and it’s done at 3:12. ¾* Just an extended squash match for Spivey. I’m surprised they used someone like Morton instead of someone a bit lower on the chain of importance.

- Missy Hyatt promises to try and interview someone in the Men’s Locker Room. Tony Schiavone reminds us what happened last time, and we get clips from Wrestle War where she was chased off by Stan Hansen.

“Wildfire” Tommy Rich vs. Nikita Koloff:

More undercard hell. I can only guess this match is scheduled so we know that Koloff is in the building. He’s got issues with Lex Luger. Rich grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a body press for a two count. Lockup into the corner, Koloff with a cheap shot and clubberin’ blows. Whip across the ring, Koloff misses a charge, and Rich rolls him up for another two count. Rich grabs another side headlock. Koloff escapes with shoulders to the midsection. Whip to the corner and Rich follows in with an elbow. He tries it again, but Koloff avoids it. Koloff with a slam, followed by some choking. He takes Rich over with a snapmare and drops an elbow for two. Rich mounts a comeback, mostly punching. Koloff reverses a whip and avoids a blind cross body press. Whip to the ropes and the Russian Sickle finishes at 4:07. ½* Another squash match.

- Tony Schiavone brings out Theodore R. Long and his new protégé, making his WCW Debut, JOHNNY B. BADD. Oh boy, where do I begin... do I start by mentioning that Marc Mero, the man playing the gimmick, is Caucasian and has such a heavy tan to give him the physical impressions of an African-American? The fact he’s named after a Chuck Berry song but is just a dead ringer for Little Richard, complete with heavy make-up, feather boa, and eye liner? That he’s here to hype an angle with P.N. News? That one of his two lines during the whole segment is "I’m so pretty, I should’ve been born a little girl"? This has bad written all over it, and pun definitely intended.

"The Natural" Dustin Rhodes vs. Terrence Taylor (w/ Alexandra York & Mr. Hughes):

More undercard filler. Dustin Rhodes is getting the nepotism push of doom (daddy Dusty was booking at this point), so I don’t like Taylor’s odd, regardless whether he’s the Computerized Man of the 90’s or not. Until recently, Mr. Hughes had worked as the Big Cat. I guess a tough bodyguard type is a better gimmick than being a cat. Lockup and a clean break. Taylor with a takedown, but Rhodes quickly gets back to his feet. Rhodes with a headlock and shoulder tackle for an early pin attempt. Dustin with an arm drag, into an arm-bar. Dustin shrugs off a cheap shot and unloads with rights. They blow something, turning it into a weird side headlock takeover. Taylor with a slam, but he misses an elbow, and it’s back to the arm-bar. Dustin with a suplex for two. Whip to the ropes, Dustin misses a body press, ending up on the ramp. Taylor brings him back in with a suplex and drops a knee across the forehead for two. Taylor with a slam, but he leaps off the second rope and meets a boot. Dustin with the comeback, including a back drop and diving clothesline. Whip and an inverted atomic drop gets two. Running bulldog connects, but York distracts the referee. Mr. Hughes tries a cheap shot, but we have heel miscommunication, and Rhodes covers for the three count at 8:06. * Taylor looked like a goof for every spot until the mid-way point, making Rhodes look like the second coming of Christ, then looks like a chump not only giving the visual pinfall for Dustin’s finisher, but then lays down for a cheap finish including a loaded glove.

Big Josh vs. Black Bart:

Black Bart is subbing for Larry Zbyszko, according to Jim Ross. Was Barry Horowitz unavailable for the spot? Seriously, we’re in WCW Power Hour territory here. To make matters worse, Big Josh (Matt Borne, a.k.a the original Doink) comes to the ring with TWO BEARS strutting to the ring on their hind-feet. Lockup to the ropes and Black with a cheap shot. Josh comes back with hip tosses and the Log Roll (running in place on the opponent’s torso). Josh gets the upper-hand in a slugfest and works the arm. Bart fights free and controls with some weak, boring offense. I love when Jim Ross sneaks in comments that are basically him telling the audience the match stinks. Josh with a single-arm takedown and charging double axehandle. He comes off the ropes, and sits down on Bart for the three count at 3:46. When Earthquake does it, it’s a believable finisher. When someone Big Josh’s size does it, it looks ridiculous. DUD Worst match of the night… so far.

- Just when you think you’ve seen it all...to set the tone for what I’m about to tell you, let’s turn the clock back to the early 90’s. Ted Turner purchases a shit ton of old movies, including the Wizard of Oz. Someone working under Turner, or maybe Turner himself, I don’t know, I don’t care, pushed for WCW to create a character based on the film. What we got was an elaborate stage set up with actors dressed as Dorothy, Scarecrow, etc. etc. approaching “Emerald City”, a large prop at the head of the entrance ramp, where they encountered Oz (Kevin Nash, repackaged since flopping as a Master Blaster), a large man accompanied to the ring by an annoying little troll of a man in a bad mask and a MONKEY ON HIS SHOULDER (Kevin Sullivan is the masked man, not the monkey, looking for something to do, and constantly screaming "Welcome to OZ!"). According to Dave Meltzer, the live crowd absolutely hated the segment (and being WCW fans, reacted even more negatively than usual because of WCW’s attempts at being Cartoon Land WWF), and the green smoke gave off a disgusting odor that remained in the air for the rest of the show. Oh, and if that’s not enough... he wrestles. A Total Jobber. ON PPV.

Oz (w/ The Wizard) vs. Tim Parker:

Blink and you’ll miss this one. Parker charges and goes down attempting a shoulder tackle. Oz with a slam and the Helicopter Throw for the three count at the 28-second mark. No rating for the match, but what a colossal turd for a gimmick and putting this nightmare on a Pay-Per-View.

- Missy Hyatt tries to get an interview in the MEN’S locker room (and is on the hunt for the Z-Man), but gets chased off again by Stan Hansen, this time while Hansen is hanging around in his boxers. Funny stuff.

Taped Fist Match: Flyin’ Brian vs. Barry Windham:

Pillman and the Horsemen, especially Windham have had issues for the good majority of 1991. Trash talk and a shove from Windham to kick it off. Windham grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder. Pillman slips out of a slam, grabs his own headlock, and takes Windham over with a hip toss. He comes off the ropes with a diving shoulder and unloads with rights. Windham hides In the corner, forcing a break. Windham sneaks a boot to the midsection and pounds the ribs. He plants Pillman with a slam, but a trip to the top rope is interrupted with a dropkick. Pillman follows him to the floor with a fist from the top rope. Pillman pounds away as I notice Windham has bladed. He keeps hammering on Windham until getting thrown into the post, and now he’s bladed, too. Windham tosses Pillman to the ramp and slams him off, face-first to the rail. The pro-heel crowd chants for Windham as he continues to control the action. Whip to the ropes and Pillman comes back with a spinning heel kick. Pillman with hard slaps to the chest and Windham thumbs the eyes. He sends Pillman to the buckle and drops him throat-first across the top rope. Pillman throws more slaps to the chest until Windham takes him down with a back suplex. Windham with a headlock, whip to the ropes, and they clash heads. Windham goes for a suplex, but Pillman counters with his own. He heads to the top rope, but gets nailed low behind the back of the referee. Windham with the Super-Plex and float over into a cover for three at 6:09. Post-match, Windham adds a few more blows because he’s a jerk. *** Hot match with non-stop action, just criminally short. Finally something worth giving a look. Will the streak continue?

- Diamond Dallas Page unveils his newest protégé, The Diamond Stud(d) (Scott Hall). What’s with all these debuts on a PPV that I’m sure won’t reach nearly as large an audience as their standard shows like Saturday Night or Main Event.

Stretcher Match: El Gigante vs. Sid Vicious:

Oh sweet Jesus, who in their right mind came up with this idea?! They go face-to-face, or in this case, face to chest. Sid comes off the ropes with a shoulder, but it doesn’t move Gigante. Lockup, and Gigante shoves Sid against the ropes. Sid demands a test-of-strength, but goes to the midsection, complete with ATROCIOUS selling from El Gigante. Whip is reversed and Gigante sends Sid to the floor with a clothesline. Back inside, Sid goes to the legs, and again, Gigante shows off his terrible selling ability. Sid runs into a boot, and Gigante with the CLAW for a questionable three count at 2:15, despite this being a Stretcher Match. Sid casually rolls out of the ring and leaves as Kevin Sullivan shows up with the One Man Gang for an angle that’s probably WORSE than Sid vs. Gigante promised to be. They whip Gigante with a studded strap and beat him with the stretcher, but he practically no-sells it. DUD Nothing of a match, but we’re lucky it even took place, as Sid was already on his way out the door to sign with WWF and many assumed he would just leave before this PPV took place. Give him credit for doing a pinfall job om the way out, no matter how lame and uninterested he appeared to be.

ThunderDOOM Cage Match: Ron Simmons vs. Butch Reed:

Theodore Long will be suspended above the ring in another cage to prevent interference. These two broke up at Wrestle War following the loss of the World Tag Titles to the Freebirds, and this is the blowoff. No, that isn’t my own pun, this is indeed called a Thunderdoom Cage Match. They trade blows, with Simmons getting the upper hand. He connects with an atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Simmons sends Reed to the ropes, but meets the cage on a dive attempt. Whip to the corner is reversed and Simmons takes him down with a back suplex. Simmons meets knees on a charge, and Reed comes off the second buckle with an elbow for two. Reed smashes Simmons into the face, and I think he’s bladed. Reed with a snapmare and rake of the eyes. He pounds away and comes off the second turnbuckle with an axehandle. Simmons teases a comeback, but misses a dropkick. He makes a second attempt, only to get sent into the cage. Reed slams him face-first to the canvas and covers for two. He connects with a Piledriver for another two count. If Dusty makes one more Football reference, I’m going to hang myself. Reed keeps pounding away and slaps on a chinlock. Simmons fights free, but is taken down with a swinging neck breaker. Reed to the top rope with his signature shoulder tackle, but Simmons gets a foot on the ropes… in a cage match? Reed goes for a splash, but it meets knees. Whip to the ropes, and a double clothesline puts both men down. Long dumps something in the ring, recovered by Reed. Simmons ducks under and hits a Spinebuster for the three count at 9:40. ** Decent brawl at times, boring standard match from Butch Reed at others. I didn’t expect much out of this one, and it delivered what I anticipated.

WCW World Tag Team Championship Match:
The Steiner Brothers © vs. Sting & Lex Luger:

I don’t think there’s much of a feud behind this match, but who cares, this should be awesome. Luger is the reigning United States Champion (a Title he seemed to hold for most of 1988-1991) and in the middle of an angle with Nikita Koloff… foreshadowing? Luger and Rick start. Lockup and a clean break. Lockup into the corner, and they break clean again. Luger takes Rick down with an arm drag. Rick side-steps a charge and takes Luger down with a waist lock, but Luger quickly hooks the ropes. Luger grabs a side headlock and takes Rick over. Rick counters with a head scissors, then takes Luger down with another waist lock. Luger with a headlock, and a shoulder tackle sends Rick flying. Whip to the ropes and Luger with a powerslam for two! Whip to the corner, but a charge misses. Rick takes him down with a release German Suplex, then follows up with the Steinerline for a two count. Whip to the corner and Rick with a back drop. He tries it again, but this time Luger turns him inside out with a clothesline. Whip and Luger with a Press Slam. Sting tags in and sends Rick to the floor with a clothesline. He follows with an amazing suicide dive over the top rope! Back inside, Sting with a boot to the midsection and a bulldog. Rick pops right back up, so Sting scoops him up and slams him into the turnbuckle, a move from Rick Steiner’s own playbook. The Stinger Splash misses, and Scott finally tags in. He quickly plants Sting with a double under-hook into a Powerbomb! Whip to the ropes and he connects with a tilt-o-whirl slam. Whip is reversed and Sting comes back with a Hot Shot!

Luger with a suplex. Sting walks into an inverted atomic drop and set across the top turnbuckle for a super-sized belly-to-belly suplex for a near fall. Scott sets Sting across the turnbuckle, but goes flying over the top rope on a missed clothesline. Luger brings him back in from the apron with a suplex, but it only gets two. Whip to the ropes and Scott with a takeover. Whip is reversed and Luger with a Powerslam. He goes for the Rack, but Scott counters with a Russian leg sweep. Rick with a blind tag and the bulldog from the top rope, but it only gets two! Sting surprises Rick with an illegal missile dropkick, ticking off Scott. Luger and Rick slug it out and clash heads after a long criss-cross sequence. Sting and Scott slug it out until Sting takes him down with a twisting back suplex. Whip to the ropes, Scott smashes Sting across the back with a forehead and sets up for the Tombstone, but Sting counters with a Tombstone of his own. Cover, but Rick breaks the count. Luger tackles Rick to the floor and it’s another brawl. Meanwhile, Sting sends Scott to the corner and hits the Stinger Splash! Suddenly Nikita Koloff makes his way to the ring. He goes to clothesline Luger with the chain, but Sting pushes him away and takes the blow! Scott crawls over and covers Sting for the three count at 11:09. Sting blades to sell it, and quickly runs backstage to take it out on Koloff, kicking off their brief program. ****1/2 Weak finish aside, and being criminally short, this was a fantastic match with nothing but hot sequences, power moves, and an electric crowd. - WCW Television Championship Match: Arn Anderson © vs. “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton: I’d normally feel sorry for anyone having to follow that previous performance, but something in me feels like these two can overcome that and deliver a great match, too. I’m guessing Eaton was still using the knockoff Midnight Express music, as WWE has dubbed over some generic crap while you can faintly hear the original theme. Lockup, Anderson with headlock takeover, and Eaton counters with a head scissors. They repeat twice more and Eaton lays Arn out with a hard right uppercut. Anderson with a boot to the midsection, followed by some eye raking. Whip to the corner is reversed, Eaton gets a knee up on a charge, and drops Arn with a clothesline for the first near fall of the match. Eaton hooks an armbar, but Anderson quickly escapes, knocking Eaton through the ropes with an axehandle. They slug it out, with Eaton climbing the ropes. Arn with a rake of the eyes, and he launches Eaton onto the ramp. He sets up for a Piledriver, but Eaton blocks and counters with a back drop. Eaton back drops Anderson back into the ring and comes off the top with a double axehandle for two. Anderson with a sucker punch in the corner, then wraps the leg of Eaton around the post. Anderson keeps punishing the knee and slaps on a step-over toe hold. Yes, he uses the ropes for extra leverage. Anderson goes to it again, but this time Eaton kicks him off the corner and slams his face into all three buckles. Anderson whacks the knee to slow Eaton down and rams it across the side of the ring apron. Eaton keeps fighting back, hobbling around the whole time. He goes down throwing a punch, allowing Anderson to regain control by slapping on a grapevine. Anderson goes for a suplex, but Eaton counters with his own. Eaton kicks his way out of another leg-lock and unloads with rights. Eaton with a snapmare, but a second rope splash meets knees. Anderson ducks under a clothesline and connects with the Spinebuster, but it only gets two! Eaton catches Arn coming off the ropes with a fist to the midsection and takes him down with the Swinging Neck Breaker! Eaton to the top rope, here comes Barry Windham, but Flyin’ Brian chases him off. Eaton hits the Alabama Jam, and it’s good for the three count and his first (and only) singles Championship at 11:51. *** Good pure wrestling match, with great psychology and nothing but crisp moves from bell to bell. Would’ve loved for this to get another 5-minutes, but I’m satisfied.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Ric Flair © vs. Tatsumi Fujinami:

There was some sort of nonsense finish to a match between these two over in Japan that questioned who the true World Champion is, so this is the rematch to settle things. Lockup, Fujinami grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Flair escapes a hammerlock with a drop toe hold, but Fujinami escapes from a grounded grappling position. Flair with a cheap shot in the corner, followed by chops. Fujinami retaliates, whips Flair to the corner, and takes him over with a back drop. He takes Flair down with a drop toe hold and applies a Bow-and-Arrow. Fujinami lets go and quickly slaps on a Boston Crab. He switches through various leg holds. Flair fights back to his feet and takes Fujinami over with a snap suplex. Flair thumbs the eyes, but Fujinami quickly comes back with a diving forearm for a two count. Flair rolls to the apron, but is quickly brought back in with a suplex. Fujinami with another diving forearm, and another sends Flair flying over the top rope (he intended that the first time, but couldn’t get enough lift off). Fujinami follows and is crotched along the security rail for his aggression. Back in the ring, Flair clips the knee and drops his weight across the leg. Flair with his signature atomic drop and applies the Figure-Four in the center of the ring. Fujinami manages to turn the pressure over and they roll into the ropes.

They trade blows until Fujinami sweeps the legs and slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock! Flair makes it to the ropes, forcing a break. Fujinami with a drifting back suplex for a series of two counts. He grabs a headlock but Flair quickly counters with a back suplex of his own. Flair with a side headlock. Fujinami counters with a head scissors, and they can’t do the bridge spot. Flair takes it to the floor and now it’s his turn to taste the security rail. He hits the post too, and we have ANOTHER blade job. Whip to the corner and Flair botches the flip in the corner spot. Fujinami sends Flair across the ring with a hip toss, but walks into a boot. Flair goes for an Oklahoma Roll… and did they botch that, too? Flair randomly staggers to the floor and falls on his face. Flair heads to the top rope, and predictably gets slammed off. Fujinami applies the Octopus (a move fans of WCW Wrestling for NES know as Lex Luger’s assigned finisher). Flair escapes with a hip toss, but can’t follow up. Fujinami with rights in the corner, and now it’s a slugfest. They collide, with both men falling out of the ring. Flair goes for a slam, but Fujinami shifts his weight and lands on top for two. Whip to the ropes and Fujinami with an inside cradle for two. Fujinami with a roll up, but Flair kicks off and sends Fujinami into the Japanese referee (Tiger Atori?). Flair with a roll up and handful of tights, and WCW referee Bill Alfonso counts three at 18:43. ***1/4 Cheap finish to another good match. There were a few messed up spots, and damn if the crowd was mostly dead for it, but this was technically fine, just not what you would expect in a Main Event of a North American promotion in 1991.

Final Thoughts: Despite being a bit over-bloated and full of undercard nonsense and stupid gimmicks, most of the top matches delivered. The Tag Title Match is a serious MOTY candidate (with a weak finish), there’s pretty good matches for the World Championship and Television Championship, and holy crap, the Fabulous Freebirds actually had a good match. Even with stuff like Sid vs. El Gigante, Oz, Big Josh, and Johnny B. Badd, this still holds up well enough for a recommendation.

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