REVIEW: WCW SuperBrawl IX (1999)

Usually this is Adorable Adrian Adonis’ gimmick, but I’m gonna take it over for a moment.

 

FEBRUARY 21, 1999

 

It was a period of decline in WCW. The year prior, WWF had broken WCW’s 83-weeks win streak in the ratings, and WCW seemed to continually shoot itself in the foot trying to regain supremacy. This show follows Kevin Nash supposedly taking over creative and booking himself to the moon, specifically by ending Goldberg’s streak, and the infamous Fingerpoke of Doom™. This is one of the final shows between the Fingerpoke™ and Vince Russo’s arrival in September, so it’s one of the final shows that has at least some semblance of coherence in its storylines.

Ric Flair defeated Eric Bischoff at Starrcade ’98 to become president of WCW. At that same show, in probably still the most hotly debated angle of all-time, Kevin Nash defeated Goldberg with the help of Scott Hall and his taser to end Goldberg’s (supposed) 173-match winning streak. Nash remained nonplussed about this situation and claimed Hall was acting on his own. He gave Goldberg a rematch eight days after Starrcade. However, the night the match was supposed to take place on Nitro, Goldberg was arrested after Miss Elizabeth accused him of “aggravated stalking.” She eventually admitted to lying, but Goldberg was unable to make it back from the police station in time for the match (despite the station being across the street from the Georgia Dome). Hulk Hogan, who had announced his retirement a month earlier to focus on his supposed presidential candidacy, arrived to take Goldberg’s place. Hogan came out with Scott Steiner and Nash came out with Scott Hall. After circling each other for a bit, Nash pushed Hogan, then Hogan lightly poked Nash in the chest. Nash’s reaction has been compared to “getting hit in the chest with a cannonball” as he fell on his back and allowed Hogan to pin him, signifying the reunion of the nWo Hollywood and Wolfpac factions. President Ric Flair was beside himself, and announced himself and the #1 contender for the WCW title, which brings us to SuperBrawl IX.

 

SuperBrawl IX

TAGLINE: He Who Has the Belt Has The Power

 

The show begins as many Nitros and Thunders have recently, with a woman in a hotel room (eventually named as Torrie Wilson) talking to an unseen person, and she’s excited that they’re going to SuperBrawl.

Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Bobby Heenan welcome us to SuperBrawl from the Oakland Coliseum, recapping some of the storylines in recent weeks and months.

 

DISCO INFERNO VS. BOOKER T

Booker’s brother Stevie Ray was part of the nWo while Booker was not. Disco was recently allowed into the group after months of pestering and being their errand boy and taking beatings for them. Stevie still maintained a relationship with Booker and Disco didn’t like it, and backstage said “What is this, a brother thing?” Booker was less than pleased as Stevie put his hands up and walked away.

Disco comes out sporting an nWo Wolfpac shirt but wit his own music and doing his trademark dance. Booker had the same entrance then that he still has today. Disco has a ton of heat and Booker is very over with the crowd. Some posturing early on as Disco heads to the ropes and behind the referee each time Booker comes at him. A loud “DISCO SUCKS” chant breaks out. Each time either men gets the upper hand in the early part of the match he stops and postures to the crowd and his opponent.

We know that Booker can pick up the pace when he wants to, but he takes a slow and methodical pace in this match, more of a heel-style offense, which I think may be more of a WCW thing. He misses a Harlem side kick and Disco clotheslines him over the top rope, which used to be an automatic disqualification in WCW. Disco tosses him into the steel barricade on the outside and celebrates in the ring. Booker recovers and hits a few kicks then poses for the crowd before hitting his signature axe kick. Instead of going for the kill he picks Disco up off the mat, and Disco reverses an Irish whip then catches Booker with an atomic drop. Booker catches an axe handle attempt from the top rope and lifts Disco up for an Alabama slam. Disco avoids another kick and turns Booker inside out with a clothesline. Disco goes for a chart buster (Stone Cold stunner) but Booker reverses it into a back drop. He hits the side kick and goes to the top for the Harlem Hangover, but Disco gets up and climbs to the top with Booker. Booker knocks him down, then Disco clearly squirms and re-positions himself for the Harlem Hangover. 1. 2. 3. Booker wins.

The crowd definitely lost steam during a lackluster match. Not the best way to open the show. There was never a real flow to the match.

Match Rating: Two Gold Medals

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CHRIS JERICHO W/RALPHUS VS. PERRY SATURN

If Saturn wins, Jericho will have to wear a dress for 90 days. This just five months before Jericho leaves WCW and six months before his WWF debut, so it’s widely believed that Saturn will win the match.

Jericho had defeated Saturn at Souled Out in January in a “loser wears a dress for 90 days” match, which Saturn loss after some “suspect” officiating by Dickinson, who was obviously in Jericho’s pocket. For some reason, Jericho Personal Security officer Ralphus had started wearing a dress as well. Dickinson comes out along with Jericho and Ralphus, all but confirming he is firmly in Jericho’s corner. This time period is when Jericho really developed into the character that we all came to know and love or hate. Ralphus is wearing a pink dress and women’s sweater with big pearl earrings and Jericho is wearing an Indian-styled silk shirt that looks like it costs $500.Saturn comes out in a black and white one-piece dress that almost looks like a singlet, and he owns it.

Jericho gets on the mic and says “Let me tell you this jerky, you look absolutely ridiculous” and calls him a loser, a moron, and a cross-eyed, cross-dressing freak. He calls him an embarrassment to himself, Ralphus, and the Jerichoholics in the crowd. Saturns answers with a couple clotheslines. The match quickly moves to the outside and into the crowd. As is still the case today when Jericho is a heel, he gets split reaction from the crowd. When the match gets back into the ring, a quick and weak “Jericho sucks” chant breaks out. Saturn hits his usual power moves, suplexes and headbutts, while Jericho uses a lot of chops and dropkicks. Saturn slingshots Jericho from the middle of the ring to the outside then hits a crossbody to the outside. He pulls Ralphus into the ring and rips his dress off, leaving Ralphus in his blue boxers that can barely be seen with his huge gut hanging over them. Ralphus scurries off. Jericho takes the opportunity to surprise Saturn and take control of the match.

Saturn is not the best worker, his selling sucks. He was much more attuned to the ECW style rather than WCW. After a dropkick he hits a pretty-looking frog splash from the top rope, then Jericho attempts a dirty pin with his feet on the ropes but Saturn kicks out. The highlight of the match is when Saturn mounts Jericho in the corner, pulls his dress over Jericho’s head, and gives him the 10-punch. Jericho attempts to reverse into the Walls of Jericho, but Saturn reverses it into a two-count pin. Jericho hits a crossbody from the top but Saturn rolls through into the Rings of Saturn. Jericho is able to get his feet on the ropes and Dickinson forces Saturn to break the hold. Saturn misses on a lionsault attempt, then Jericho hits on his. The announce team compliments Dickinson on his impartiality thus far in the match. Saturn hits the Death Valley Driver on Jericho, but instead of going for the pin, hits the Death Valley Driver on Dickinson, getting a huge pop from the crowd. He poses for the crowd and leaves, saying into the camera, “Life’s a drag!” Jericho wins by count out, and Saturn will continue to wear a dress, which he seems to enjoy.

This match was decent and was more about the dress gimmick and Saturn getting some revenge than the technical aspect of it. On that front it achieved its desired effect.

Match Rating: Five Gold Medals

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They throw it back to their “internet location” where Rey Mysterio and Konnan are talking to some interviewer I don’t know. The screen graphic promotes wcw.com.

They switch to a video package of Scott Steiner terrorizing DDP and his wife Kimberly. Heenan says Kimberly should have been home with a TV dinner, but it’s ok if she’s here on Monday and home with a TV dinner the other six nights. God I miss Heenan.

 

CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: CHAVO GUERRERO JR. VS. BILLY KIDMAN (c)

Former partners who split up after they lost in the recent tag team championship tournament. Chavo plays the heel in this match. Kidman, in his jean shorts and wifebeater, was one of the innovators of the modern cruiserweight style. Once they stopped his heroin addict gimmick in The Flock and let him just go out there and do his thing it was obvious how talented he was, hence him holding the Cruiserweight Championship at this time. After some back-and-forth action in the early part of the match, Chavo hits a somersault suicide dive to the outside that looks pretty damn awesome. This match goes a lot like the cruiserweight matches we see on 205 Live: a lot of quick strikes, a lot of counters, and a lot of aerial attacks, with some additional power moves thrown in. Kidman has awesome dropkicks. Guerrero plants Kidman with a DDT from the top rope and gets a two count. He goes for a powerbomb that Kidman reverses into a face buster, then climbs to the top and hits his Shooting Star Press for the win.

I’m a mark for cruiserweights, and this was a classic cruiserweight battle.

Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals

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FINALS OF THE WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: CURT HENNIG & BARRY WINDHAM VS. CHRIS BENOIT & DEAN MALENKO

Since this is a double elimination tournament, Benoit & Malenko must beat Perfect & Windham twice to win the titles. Hennig & Windham need just one win to take home the gold. The background here is that Rick Steiner had won the belts with Kenny Kaos, but Steiner suffered a legit shoulder injury, and was attacked by nWo backstage as a way to write him off TV and vacate the belts. Hennig & Windham, both part of the nWo, had defeated Benoit & Malenko, both members of the new Four Horsemen, in the first round of this tournament. The Horsemen ran through the losers bracket, defeating Van Hammer & Kaz Hayashi, Fit Finlay & Dave Taylor, Scotty Riggs & Mike Enos, and Bryan Adams & Horace Hogan (yes, really) to get another shot, hopefully two more shots at Hennig & Windham. It’s always uncomfortable watching Benoit matches.

It’s a fitting match-up, as Hennig & Windham had been selected as new members of the Four Horsemen in 1997, but turned on the group and left it for dead soon after, until it was revived by Malenko, Benoit, Steve “Mongo” McMichael, and Arn Anderson as manager. In this match we get four technical masters.

This match featured mat wrestling early and quickly escalated into furious chops and punches. Hennig and Windham are excellent cheaters and take advantage of every opportunity they get in this match, such as illegal double teams and distracting the referee. Benoit and Malenko do a great job of what heels normally do, cutting the ring in half and tagging in and out frequently. Benoit jumps halfway across the ring with a flying headbutt on Hennig but Windham makes the save, then keeps the ref occupied while Malenko tries to pin Hennig. Hennig sneaks a low blow in on Malenko and tags in Windham, who takes control of the match.

Malanko takes a bit of a beatdown but soon gets to Benoit, who takes down Hennig then snots on him. Lovely. Nobody seems to get control in this match for very long, it’s very back-and-forth and a while into the match there’s been no hot tags. It’s a very slow-paced match, seemingly a nod back to the old Jim Crockett Promotions, with some quickening of the pace here and there. The crowd seems to have been lulled to sleep here, they’re quite dead. Heenan makes the point that Windham and Hennig may be trying to wear down Malenko and Benoit so they can’t beat them once, and certainly not twice. We get our first hot tag of the match when Malenko comes in and knocks the spit out of Windham’s mouth, which looks gross, and we get all four guys going at it in the ring until Malenko locks in the Texas Cloverleaf on Windham for the win.

We get a 30-second rest period before the match re-starts, but Benoit and Malenko don’t let that happen. That backfires as with the referee distracted in the corner with Benoit attacking Hennig, Malenko goes over to give Windham some more punishment, not knowing that Windham has taken off his belt. Windham chokes Malenko with the belt and covers him win the win. New WCW Tag Team Champions: Curt Hennig & Barry Windham.

I got a little hopeful that action would pick up when Heenan seemed to suggest they were saving their energy for a second long match, but alas, that was not the case. I’d be a little happier if there was more action then the second match was over that quickly, but while there was some great technical wrestling here, it was pretty boring, and the finish was lame as hell.

Match Rating: Three Gold Medals

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They show Roddy Piper beating Bret Hart for the United States Championship, which he will defend against Scott Hall tonight.

 

HAIR VS. MASK MATCH: KEVIN NASH & SCOTT HALL W/LIZ & LEX LUGER VS. REY MYSTERIO & KONNAN

After the nWo factions reunited, they demanded the Latino World Order disband and lose their colors. They all complied except for Rey Mysterio. Konnan was a member of the nWo Wolfpac but also a good friend of Rey. Nash turned on Konnan and kicked him out of the nWo. It leads a match where if Konnan & Rey win, Liz gets her head shaved, but if they lose, Rey loses his mask.

Konnan and his pre-match shtick are massively over with the crowd, probably because they just like to yell “ROWDY ROWDY!” Some things never change (“RUSEV DAY!”). Hall uses his typical bully tactics, pushing Rey’s face and throwing his toothpick at him. There’s a ridiculous size difference between The Outsiders and Mysterio.

Heenan and Tenay argue about the value and the tradition of wearing a mask in wrestling today. Heenan’s attitude is if you don’t want to lose something, don’t bring it to the ring, while Tenay is deeply entrenched in the traditions and mythos of lucha libre. It’s a fun and entertaining aspect that’s added to the match.

Nash tosses Mysterio around like a rag doll. Hall and Nash continue to treat Rey like a practice dummy for a bit to strong crowd reactions, some cheers and a ton of boos. Rey escapes and gets the hot tag to K-Dog and the crowd pops hard. He hits a few big moves until Hall takes him down with a clothesline, and The Outsiders are back in control. Now it’s Konnan’s turn to take the beating.

Hall and Nash do a lot of little things to get big heat and add to the psychology of the match, especially Hall. He often does degrading little taps to the head to show his dominance and it has a big effect on the psyche of the opponent and the crowd. Rey gets a hot tag and hits a few dropkicks on Nash and Hall, using his opponents and his partner as launching pads. Luger interferes and takes out Konnan, and after Rey takes out Nash with a knee to the head, Liz distracts the ref while Hall hits the Outsider’s Edge and pulls Nash on top of Mysterio for the win.

The stakes are really what made this one an exciting match. The crowd was hot for this one and the heels did a lot of heel things to make sure they got the win and force Rey Mysterio to unmask, a historic moment in wrestling. Heenan’s reaction is priceless when the mask comes off: “It’s leave it to Beaver!”

Match Rating: Eight Gold Medals

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WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE VS. SCOTT STEINER (c)

Over the past few months Steiner has been a total creepy horn dog stalker, going into the Nitro Girls’ dressing room uninvited and then obsessing over Kimberly, DDP’s wife. The angle culminates in Steiner stealing Page’s car with Kimberly inside, then throwing Kimberly out of the moving car while attempting to run over Page. Kimberly gets taken away in an ambulance. The stipulation for this match is that if Steiner wins, he gets Kimberly for 30 days, so this is EXTREMELY personal.

Lots of action in this one. Buff Bagwell comes out early on to back up Steiner and Page takes out him and Steiner. Almost everyone in the crowd is on their feet for this match. It basically becomes a handicap match with Bagwell constantly getting involved but Page seems to have convinced the ref to let it go, because he does absolutely nothing. Bagwell is such a douche. A perfect heel.

We get to see Steiner’s bare ass when Page pulls his tights for a pin attempt.

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It’s okay, it was pay per view.

Heenan’s response: “I’ve seen happy, but never a smile like that.”

Buff slips a chair into the ring and distracts the ref while Steiner nails Page in the back. Buff then cuts off the turnbuckle pads but is caught and thrown out by referee Charles Robinson. Steiner gets in the ref’s face and yells “WHAT THE FUCK?!” and shoves him. I don’t think Big Poppa Pump is too far from Steiner’s real life personality. He chases the referee around the ring after Robinson takes a chair out of his hands, and Steiner runs right into a DDP clothesline. This match is definitely the best action of the night.

Steiner hits the Frankensteiner off the top rope but Page kicks out at 2 7/8 and hits a Diamond Dream off the ropes to put both men down. Page rolls onto Steiner but he kicks out just before three. Steiner counters a Diamond Cutter and throws Page into the exposed steel turnbuckle. He continues to hit Page’s face and spine onto the steel, setting up his Steiner Recliner. Page fights but Steiner eventually gets it locked in, and DDP passes out. Steiner retains and gets Kimberly for 30 days. As a final heel act he knocks over the gurney that had come out to take Page from the ring.

The action in this match never stopped and the crowd was hot as hell. Page is probably the most over face and Steiner may be the most hated heel in the company at the time. Best match of the night so far.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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Mark Madden is in the internet location interviewing Bam Bam Bigelow, who will be wrestling Goldberg tonight. Bigelow says he’s gonna throw Goldberg around, and Madden is shocked. SHOCKED!

 

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: SCOTT HALL W/DISCO INFERNO VS. “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER (c)

Hall is pulling double duty tonight, replacing an injured Lex Luger. Piper uses his kilt as a weapon early on to get the upper hand. Very basic wrestling out of Piper, which is about all he has in his arsenal. You’ll never get a technical masterpiece out of Piper, but you’ll usually be entertained. We get punches, eye pokes, atomic drops, and taunting. Also terrible selling. Most of the match is these guys going bad move for bad move. The crowd is kind of into it but definitely down from the last match. They barely react when Disco interferes on Hall’s behalf. Piper’s finisher is the sleeper, which is all you need to know about his technical skills.

The biggest reaction of the match is for Kevin Nash when he comes out to interfere, leading to a foot-on-the-ropes pin for Hall, who is the new United States Champion. Piper initially refuses to relinquish the belt, but eventually throws it at Hall’s feet. Hall then goes to hit Piper with the belt but he ducks it and knocks Hall out of the ring. Disco then pulls the belt away from Piper in a really lame tug of war. Hall and Nash attack Piper but he escapes the ring and yells something incoherent into the microphone. This was a pretty bad match.

Match Rating: Two Gold Medals

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BAM BAM BIGELOW VS. GOLDBERG

Bigelow, billed as an uninvited guest in WCW, had showed up in November 1998 demanding a match against Goldberg, and he finally gets his wish. I’m sure everyone expects a quick match here. Goldberg catches Bigelow with a slam early on and the crowd goes nuts. Lots of circling and posturing in this match, probably to draw it out and make the fans feel like they got their money’s worth. The crowd seems to get louder with every move Goldberg hits, and he debuts a new cross arm breaker. Bigelow goads Goldberg to the outside and hits a few elbow drops to the nads as the crowd continues to chant for Goldberg. Bigelow controls Goldberg for a bit and works on his knee with elbow drops and submission holds. Goldberg nearly reverses a toe hold into his own submission, and there’s a lot more mat wrestling in this match than I’m sure anyone thought there would be, but I doubt it’s what anyone wants to see. I get they want to make Goldberg look vulnerable, but he was good in short bursts, not in longer matches with submissions and rest holds.

Goldberg finally recovers and reverses a sleeper into a backdrop, but Bigelow gets up first and hits a scoop slam and a diving headbutt for a two count. Goldberg thwarts Bigelow’s moonsault attempt by tossing him off the top rope, and Bigelow evades a spear by rolling to the outside. Bigelow tosses Goldberg into the ropes, Goldberg ducks under a clothesline and hits a spear and the crowd pops HUGE. He starts to go for a jackhammer, pulls away and hits a sidekick, hits another spear, and finally hits the jackhammer. The place goes wild.

Bam Bam kept Goldberg down and kept the crowd down for most of the match, but the last minute of the match was as excited as you’ll ever see a crowd get. I didn’t like the long drawn-out rest holds for a Goldberg match, but I gotta love Goldberg’s presence and offensive flurry.

Match Rating: Six Gold Medals

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WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: RIC FLAIR VS. HOLLYWOOD HOGAN (c)

I recapped the background for this one at the top, and here we’ve finally reached the main event at the 2 1/2 hour mark. Michael Buffer announces Hogan first, which seems to be a theme for nWo champions because Scott Steiner came out first for his title defense as well. Flair’s black and silver robe is shimmering and almost blinding. The entrances take five minutes, and there’s not much time left for a main event match.

The match has a lot more action that I thought it would between two old guys with bitch tits. This is a perfect situation for these two to have a match with Hogan as the heel and Flair as the face, because Flair is the much better seller and Hogan is better on the attack. I’m really shocked at how physical this one got, especially outside the ring. Flair’s blonde hair is half dyed red from a gushing forehead cut, I don’t know how flair can even see. Hogan starts punishing Flair with his weightlifting belt as Flair violently continues to fight.

Flair takes over and lives up to his “dirtiest player in the game” moniker with an eye poke and a knee to the groin before taking Hogan’s belt himself and delivering some punishment of his own. Now Hogan starts to bleed as well and Flair bites his forehead. A blonde woman in a red dress, the same women who has been shown in a hotel room talking to an unseen person in recent weeks, appears comes down the ramp and yells at Flair then slaps him in the face, for some reason.

Both wrestlers are a bloody mess at this point and the action hasn’t stopped for a second. Hogan takes out the referee then hits an awful Big Boot, even by Hogan standards. He strikes out on a leg drop as a someone dressed in all black including a black ski mask makes his way to the ring. Flair locks in a figure four, but the masked man zaps Flair with a stun gun as the referee comes to and Hogan covers Flair for the win. The masked man, holding hands with red dress lady, celebrate together with Hollywood Hogan. She pulls the mask off and it’s revealed to be… DAVID FLAIR! David opens his jacket to reveal an nWo t-shirt, makes out with the woman, and shocks Ric again. Nash joins the celebration and a few fans throw garbage into the ring as the show goes off the air.

It was a great match with a weird and chaotic finish. Flair and Hogan both seemed to put everything they had into this match, but it was another WCW gotta-shock-people finish. I would have much rather seen this one end clean. Regardless of how I feel about the finish, the match was terrific.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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To me most the matches in this event were either great or awful. Goldberg-Bigelow and Jericho-Saturn were middle of the road but the rest was pretty polarizing. I’m pretty torn about how I feel about this PPV overall because it had some great matches and some awful matches, and the main event finish was a downer. All in all I’d say there’s more to like than dislike, and when I really think about it, the stuff that’s I like, I like a lot, especially the main event match.

Overall Show Rating: Seven Gold Medals

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