Tuesday, 13 June 2017

PPV REVIEW: WCW SUPERBRAWL VI

WCW SUPERBRAWl VI 1996 - Event Poster
February 11, 1996
Bayfront Arena, St. Petersburg, Florida.

For most pro wrestling fans, Ric Flair is as synonymous with World Championship as the company's other marquee attraction: Sting. So it was fitting that tonight, as WCW entered its final few months before the arrival of the New World Order, that The Nature Boy should be attempting to capture the group's World Heavyweight Title for an unprecedented 13th. 

Not that Flair and his opponent, defending champion Macho Man Randy Savage were the only main event here.

As the first WCW PPV of 1996, we were nearing the end of Hulk Hogan's initial babyface run with the company, a company which appeared to be less and less successful with passing show. Everywhere he went, the chants of "Hogan Sucks! Hogan Sucks!" were growing louder and more noticeable, serving as the catalyst for Hogan's eventual heel turn at Bash At The Beach 1996 later that summer.

Would The Hulkster manage to win the favour of the Florida faithful as he went up against arch-nemesis The Giant in the second of two steel cage matches tonight?

Would his Mega Maniacs partner Randy Savage prevent Flair from breaking a new record when they met in part one of our big double main event?

Let's head to the Bayfront Arena to find out, shall we?

Welcome to Superbrawl VI, Welcome to the 1990s

Our show tonight began with a cheesy video package which basically told us what was on tonight's card, but could have just as easily have been a kid's toy commercial. Seriously, don't just take my word for it, watch it here:



After that, Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the show without telling us it was the most historic night in the history of our sport. Instead, he introduced us to his colleagues Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes before taking us down to ringside for our opening contest.

Street Fight:
Public Enemy ('Flyboy' Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs)

WCW SUPERBRAWl VI 1996 - The Nasty Boys faced Public Enemy in a Street Fight
Give credit to WCW where it's due, the company did know how to utilise Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags effectively.

This was a team that were never going to deliver a classic in a textbook tag bout, but book them in a wild, out of control brawl like this one, and the many others they had throughout their tenure with Turner, and The Nasty Boys could prove to be as entertaining as anybody on the roster.

Going up against 'Flyboy' Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge in a match which channelled the spirit of that team's former home in ECW, The Nasties spent several minutes trading chair shots, trash can attacks and table bumps with their opponents in an enjoyable -if hardly spectacular- opener.

Must-See TV this certainly wasn't, but as a way to get the crowd pumped for the show, the weapon-based madness on display here certainly worked well.

In the end, Rocco Rock hurled himself off the top of an obviously fake merch stand, hoping to crash onto Brian Knobbs and send him through a table.

Knobbs moved, made the cover, and won the match.
Your Winners: The Nasty Boys

All the while, your writer was still thinking about that merch stand. I mean seriously, it was next to the entrance, blocked off from the fans.  Who were they going to sell merchandise to, the wrestlers?

Did Mean Gene Foretell The Arrival of The Outsiders? 

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund shilled the WCW Hotline by telling us that he and Mike Tenay would be discussing the rumour that 'two World Wrestling Federation former champions could be on their way to World Championship Wrestling.'

Of course, I never heard that Hotline talk, but I do wonder if Okerlund was referring to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, who would be debuting just a few months later.

Okerlund Interviews Konan 

WCW SUPERBRAWl VI 1996 - Konnan kept looking at the wrong camera for his interview with Mean Gene Okerlund
From there, Mean Gene invited his first interview guest of the evening, Konnan.

The United States and AAA Americas Champion saddled up to Okerlund wearing a truly hideous outfit that looked like some mad dress one of the ladies from Abba might have worn back in the '70s.

Promising to beat One Man Gang in his upcoming US title defence, Konnan delivered his entire promo looking at the wrong camera.

Either that or he was reading from an autocue.

World Championship Wrestling Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Johnny B. Badd (w/ Diamond Doll) vs. Diamond Dallas Page  

It was all on the line here. If Diamond Dallas Page won, he not only became the TV champ again, but also won back the services of the Diamond Doll.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Kimberly Page The Diamond Doll rooted for Marc Mero against her real life partner, DDP
If Johnny B. Badd won, he not only kept both the belt and the girl, but also won $6 million for Kimberly, which DDP had taken from her in the first place.

Things started interestingly enough, and not just because it is still weird to see DDP heading to the ring to anything other than his famous Nirvana Rip Off theme music.

Badd's entrance was particularly explosive, with a Kimberly backflipping out of the curtain and leading her man to ringside.

Diamond Doll's presence, like some kind of super dynamic, super energetic children's TV presenter, turned out to be one of the most entertaining parts of the match.

That however, is not saying much.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Johnny B. Badd won $6 million from DDP for The Diamond Doll
In the ring, her real life partner Dallas Page was in control for much of the contest. Though this did mean that the bout occasionally dragged in places, it was saved thanks to the combination of Page's natural cockiness and Badd's in-ring talent.

Indeed, it was when the champ was in control that this one was at its best, especially when he brought it to an end by reversing a tombstone pole driver and landing one of his own to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WCW Television Champion: Johnny B. Badd 

Post-match, Badd and Diamond Doll celebrated with the oversized cheque representing the latter's cash prize.

Harlem Heat Suck At Their Sucky Sucka Promo, Sucka 

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Harlem Heat gave a terrible promo about their match with Sting and Lex Luger
Backstage, Mean Gene asked Stevie Ray and Booker T about their upcoming tag team title match against champions Sting and Lex Luger.

The 'Heat responded with a terrible promo in which every other word was 'Sucka' and the other words were badly phrased attempts at saying 'we're going to win.'

Seriously, you'd have no idea from watching him babble on in this promo that Booker T would go on to become one of the biggest stars to ever come out of WCW.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Sting & Lex Luger vs. Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray & Booker T)

The winners of this one would go on to defend the titles later on in the night against The Road Warriors.

At this point, you had to imagine they were saving any excitement for that bout, because that's the only logical reason for a match which should have been entertaining instead delivering ten-plus minutes of tedium that was an absolute chore to watch.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Sting & Lex Luger defended the WCW Tag Team Titles against Harlem HeatEven the apparent dissection between champions Sting and Lex Luger wasn't enough to make this one even mildly captivating, and when The Road Warriors ran in at the finish to help the champs retain, it came as a huge relief to this terribly bored writer.
Your Winner and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Sting & Lex Luger 

In a hilarious post match promo, Mean Gene tried to question the champs on the cheap way that they had won the match. Sting and Lex were apparently too pumped up from the bout itself (God knows why, it was so dull), and instead just yelled over the top of Okerlund, congratulating each other on a great victory.

The break in the action continued with Heenan, Schiavone, and Rhodes discussing the card so far.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Konnan vs. One Man Gang 

I'd love to tell you that this was surprisingly enjoyable, that the two men worked hard to deliver a bout which was better than it looks on paper.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - One Man Gang challenged Konnan for the US Title
I'd love to, but of course, I can't.

This was dreadful.

It started bad enough, the champ throwing himself at the challenger with some sloppy looking offence which honestly looked as though he didn't care less whether he injured his opponent, or himself.

Then One Man Gang took over, and things went from bad to worse, the match only serving to ensure that the few fans still awake after the earlier tag team snooze fest were sent right to sleep.

A boring match in front of a lifeless crowd, if you only ever see this match once in your life, it will be one too many times.

Konnan threw himself recklessly off the top rope at his opponent to retain his title. Nobody cared.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Konnan

Out in the back, Mean Gene informed us of a plumbing problem in the arena, before telling us that it was totally irrelevant and instead shilling the Hotline and the big rumour about the two WWF stars jumping ship.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - The Road Warriors challenged Sting & Lex Luger for the Tag Team Titles
What I can't understand now, is that if WCW themselves were hyping this as a potential big story as early as February, why were we supposed to be surprised when Scott Hall finally turned up on Nitro that summer?

Anyway, moving on, Okerlund brought on The Road Warriors who, in their typical rant and rave fashion, refused to apologise to Harlem Heat for costing them the titles, and promised that they were looking forward to locking up with Sting and Lex Luger.

"I Respect You" Strap Match
The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. 'Flyin' Brian Pillman 

In one of the most infamous moments in WCW history, Pillman rushed to the ring for a quick, intense brawl with The Taskmaster before running to the corner, stealing the house mic and yelling 'I respect you, Booker Man.'
Your Winner: The Taskmaster 




I've read elsewhere that the 'Booker Man' part was edited out of the VHS release of this event, but it is still included in the copy we're watching today.

As the story goes, the line was part of Brian Pillman's run where he was working everybody, including Bischoff.

Eric would agree to release Pillman for real as part of a long term angle to bring him back as an even bigger star. Pillman, of course, would never return, ending up in the WWF by the summer.

Arn Anderson Steps Up

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Arn Anderson stepped up to fight The Taskmaster in a Strap Match
Back to tonight, after Pillman had stormed off, Sullivan basically stood around looking both confused and pissed off whilst Jimmy Hart ran to the back, apparently to fetch 'The Enforcer' Arn Anderson.

Shirt tucked into shorts and big, clobbering boots on his feet, Anderson came to the ring attired in a way that can't have looked good even in the '90s.

Apparently, he was going to step up and take the place of his Four Horsemen comrade Pillman in tonight's strap match.

"I Respect You" Strap Match
The Taskmaster (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. 'The Enforcer' Arn Anderson 

1996 was seemingly the year of strap matches, yet unlike Savio Vega's strap match against Steve Austin (and later Justin 'Hawk' Bradshaw), the two veterans here really knew how to make the gimmick work.

For the first couple of minutes, both men went at it in a heated exchange which had all the signs of turning into a really great match.

It didn't however.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Ric Flair told Arn Anderson and Taskmaster to work together to destroy Hogan and Savage
Instead Jimmy Hart ran to the back again, this time bringing out Ric Flair, who put a stop to the whole thing by insisting that The Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom should work together to take out Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage.

Anderson claimed that if it meant getting his hands on the good guys, he would get in bed with the devil himself. Sullivan said nothing because Flair took the mic from him and bounced around the ring being Ric Flair, but a silent nod and a handshake from The Taskmaster was enough to cement the truce.
No Contest

Out in the back, Mean Gene managed to interview somebody without shilling the WCW Hotline.

This time, his guests were The Giant and his manager Jimmy Hart, both of whom promised us that tonight, we would see the end of Hulkamania forever.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Sting & Lex Luger vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) 

Further teasing a heel turn that would never fully come to fruition, Luger spent the opening moments of this contest threatening to head to the back and not compete at all.

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI - 1996 - Lex Luger wanted no part of The Road Warriors
This was entertaining for about a minute, and worked well as a storytelling device, but when it went on for a full five minutes, it became just as boring as Luger & Sting's earlier outing against Harlem Heat.

Eventually, Sting put us all out of our misery by persuading Luger to stick around and join him in what turned out to be by far the better of the two tag title bouts on tonight's show.

Don't get me wrong, that's not to say that this was in anyway a great match, because it wasn't.

It took forever to get going, and once it did, the whole thing failed to reach the kind of momentum you had to believe both teams were working towards.

Still, compared to the earlier snooze fest, this was a decent effort which ended on a double countout when all four men started brawling on the outside.
Double Countout 

Post match, The Road Warriors went after Luger, seeking revenge for the heel-like shenanigans that had been the catalyst for The Total Package's recent teased turn.

Sting came to his partner's rescue, and all four men brawled to the back.

The Nature Boy is Ready for Randy Savage 

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Ric Flair and Woman gave a backstage promo
Backstage, our old buddy Mean Gene was standing by to get some pre-match comments from The Nature Boy Ric Flair and his consort, Woman.

Teasing Okerlund, who always came off like a dirty old man in these segments, Woman promised that she always got what she wanted, and tonight she wanted her man Flair to capture the gold from Savage.

For his part, Flair basically lost his mind and began ranting and raving about Hulk Hogan, before presumedly remembering he was fighting Savage and promising to beat him, take his title, and take Miss Elizabeth, too.

Flair may have a reputation for being gold on the mic, but tonight was certainly not a good example of that. The Nature Boy came off as delirious and non-sensical in a segment that just didn't achieve anything.

From there, we got more analysis from Dusty, Tony, and Bobby, followed by much hype and fanfare as the cage lowered from the rafters in time for tonight's main event.

A quick commercial for the following month's WCW Uncensored 96 PPV followed, after which it was time for more Mean Gene.

Macho Man Hijacks Elizabeth's Interview 

Okerlund was about to ask Miss Elizabeth some questions, only for her man, the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage to burst onto the scene and begin putting over how awesome it was that he, Elizabeth, and Hull Hogan were back together again as The Mega Powers.

Tonight, Savage promised that he would beat up Ric Flair, and that's just what we were about to see next... after more pre-match analysis from our commentary team of course.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship Cage Match
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Elizabeth) vs. Ric Flair (w/ Woman) 

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Ric Flair beat Randy Savage for his 13th World Heavyweight Title
At Wrestlemania 8, Savage and Flair had an epic match which to date remains one of your writer's all time favourites.

Whilst this rematch lacked some of the drama of that original WWF encounter, WCW's version of Savage vs. Flair was still very good.

The best match on the card so far, this intense contest made it more than worth sitting through all the dross that went before it.

Looking to capture his record-breaking 13th World Title (back in the days before titles changed hands every week, this sort of thing was a big deal), Nature Boy controlled much of this wild and wonderfully entertaining title match, only for the champion to continually fight back.

Just when it looked like Macho Man was about to put Flair away for good, Miss Elizabeth did the unthinkable; turning her back on Savage by giving Flair her shoe to hit him with.

Flair did just that, and a three count later, became the 13 time World Champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair 

Afterwards, as Flair and Arn Anderson celebrated in the ring, Elizabeth and Woman looked to make a break for it, only for Hulk Hogan to come running down and threatening the with a chair.

Hulk sent Flair and Anderson packing and helped Savage to the back, stealing Ric Flair's moment to celebrate his record breaking title win whilst the crowd chanted 'Hogan sucks! Hogan sucks!'

Mean Gene Interviews Hulk Hogan 

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1996 - Hulk Hogan talked about being stabbed in the eye by Ric Flair (with Elizabeth's shoe)
After more comments from the announce team, we went to the back one last time, where Hulk Hogan told Mean Gene that he didn't understand why Elizabeth had turned on Savage, but that didn't stop him being furious about it.

Now that he thought about it, Hogan said that it seemed funny just how easy Elizabeth's shoe had come off on WCW TV when Flair used it to stab Hogan in the eye, causing him to be effectively blind in one eye for tonight's match against The Giant.

Speaking of that match, The Hulkster told us that it was unsanctioned, with the referee remaining on the outside merely to declare the winner.

Unlike the previous bout which could be won only by pin or submission, Hogan reminded us that his match was basically what we'll call WWF rules: with escaping the cage the only way to win.

That match was next, Brother.

Unsanctioned Cage Match
The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart and The Taskmaster) vs. Hulk Hogan 

WCW SUPERBRAWL VI 1986 - The Giant faced Hulk Hogan in an unsanctioned street fight
As The Giant made his way to the ring, Michael Buffer referred to him as 'The man who literally came back from the dead' at the previous year's Halloween Havoc.

Yes, literally.

I'm just going to leave that alone and concentrate on the match, which was better than I expected, but not by much.

Indeed, the bulk of the bout was so nondescript and uneventful that I had a hard time paying attention, though once Hogan hulked up to take us towards the finish, things did start to get exciting.

Replicating his Wrestlemania 3 moment with The Giant's storyline father, Andre, Hogan made a big deal out of slamming his larger adversary, before planting him with a Leg Drop of Doom hat trick.

The Giant shook off all of these, but wasn't able to stop Hogan from eventually making it out of the cage to win the match.
Your Winner: Hulk Hogan 

The moment Hulk landed on the outside, he was stacked by a chair-wielding Kevin Sullivan.

Hogan fought back, taking the chair for himself and chasing Sullivan into the ring.

The entire Dungeon of Doom ran in, though in a typical example of Hulk putting himself over at the expense of everybody else, he single handily beat every one of them up without selling so much as a single punch.

Finally, newcomer and Dungeon of Doom member Loch Ness (popular British wrestler Giant Haystacks) waddled down to get a piece of Hogan, only for his stable mates to pull him away as the shoe cane to an end.

Looking back, it's fascinating to see how different the landscape of World Championship Wrestling was just months before the New World Order came in and changed everything for good. 

No cruiserweights, none of the edginess and sense that anything could happen which came post Hogan heel turn, just an old fashioned pro wrestling show with a few notable moments, namely Pillman going into business for himself, and Flair capturing his 13th world title in a great match with Randy Savage. 

Speaking of which, that match may be the only reason you need watch this show. 

After all, when a match featuring the Nasty Boys turns out to be the second best on the card, that doesn't exactly speak volumes about the show's over all quality, does it? 

Next time, we'll review WCW Uncensored 1996. To be among the first to read that review when it is published, join me on the Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page, or follow me on twitter at @Retropwrestling. twitter.com/retropwrestling

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.