PPV REVIEW: WCW Superbrawl VIII (1998)

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) review - Event poster
February 22, 1998
Cow Palace, San Francisco, California.

Throughout 1997, WCW had set the wrestling world on fire and claimed their throne as the undisputed kings of the industry with a year-long build-up to Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting. 

Billed as The Match of the Century, the battle -which took place at Starrcade 1997- had been so brilliantly promoted that there was seemingly no way it could fail.

Yet fail it did, at least creatively.

Whilst the show had been a rousing financial success for World Championship Wrestling, the awkward and confusing finish to Hogan vs. Sting, coupled with poor matches and bizarre booking decisions on the undercard made Starrcade 97 a creative disaster the likes of which they would never truly recover from.

Not that they wouldn't try.

Tonight, as WCW presented us with Hogan vs. Sting II, the company would try to correct course and convince us that yes - they still deserved their place at the head of the wrestling mountain.

Here's what happened when WCW went into damage-repair mode at Superbrawl VIII.

The Battle Continues 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
Our intro tonight recapped the story of Hogan and Sting's rivalry, and how the whole thing was more about the bigger picture - the epic war between World Championship Wrestling and the New World Order.

That took us to our commentators for the evening, Tony Schiavone, Iron Mike Tenay, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, who all told us just how vital tonight's main event, one of five title matches on the show, actually was.

Speaking of title matches, we had one coming up next.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World Television Champion Rick Martel vs. Booker T

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Booker T beat Rick Martel for the TV title
This was originally supposed to be Booker T defending the TV title against Saturn, but after Rick Martel had gotten the better of Booker on Nitro, we'd had a little switch around.

Instead, the two would meet one-on-one in a rematch of their earlier meeting at Souled Out 1998, with the winner then going on to face Saturn later on in the show.

Though not on par with some of the all-out classics that WCW had used to kick off their show in the past, it's probably not very fair to go comparing this one to anything else.

Instead, let's  just let it be what it was, which is a very solid opener.

After a good battle, Booker T reclaimed his title.
Your Winner and New WCW Television Champion: Booker  T

Immediately afterwards, Saturn rushed the ring and it looked like our second TV title match was going to happen immediately.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Saturn  

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Booker T defended the TV title against Saturn and Rick Martel in two matches
Wearing street clothes and sporting more hair than I ever remember him having, Saturn beat Booker black and blue.

The resulting match didn't really have any heat but was perfectly fine until it began to drag on and on.

Seriously, this one felt like it went on forever and actually became a chore to watch at times.

After a long, long fight in which he mostly got his ass kicked, Booker T hit his Big Kick Thing that I've forgotten the name of to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still WCW TV Champion: Booker T

Backstage, Chris Jericho spoke to Mark Madden and Jeff Katz about his Cruiserweight Championship  Title vs. Mask match later on in the show.

La Parka vs. Disco Inferno 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - La Parka vs. Disco Inferno
As Disco Inferno made his way to the ring, Tony Schiavone commented on how ridiculous it was that, with a full-scale WCW/NWO war going on, Disco and La Parka would be feuding over dance moves.

Alas, they were, but I'm not saying that was a bad thing.

Whatever reason they used to get in the ring together, Disco Inferno vs. La Parka was actually far more entertaining than you'd expect.

A good, see-saw battle with plenty to enjoy, this one ended with La Parka bringing a chair into the ring but getting thrown off the top rope onto it.

A Chart Buster later and this one was over.
Your Winner: Disco Inferno 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Mean Gene Okerlund with JJ Dillon and Nick Patrick
Out in the entrance way, we got the obligatory 'Mean Gene Okerlund interviews JJ Dillon' segment.

This time, Dillon told us that Nick Patrick had been reinstated following his suspension in the wake of Montreal II at Starrcade 97.

To be fair, he should never have been suspended in the first place given that any idiot could watch that show and realise that Patrick never actually delivered the fast count he was so accused of.

Anyway, Nick, who has to be my favourite referee ever, came out and was thrilled about being reinstated, even going so far as to thank his friends, fans, and loved ones for their support.

He was, however, less thrilled to learn that he wouldn't be the referee for Hogan vs. Sting II later on in the show, a piece of news which upset him so much he started ranting about his missed back pay.

Patrick was golden here, with far more natural charisma than even some of the men he refereed for over the years.

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Bill Goldberg squashed Brad Armstrong

Brad Armstrong vs. Bill Goldberg

Bill came. Bill saw. Bill conquered.

This was your typical Bill Goldberg Super Squash Special, albeit with the added bonus that Brad Armstrong was reasonably entertaining in his few minutes as cannon fodder.
Your Winner: Bill Goldberg 

Moving on...

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship Mask vs. Title Match
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera 

At his heelish best, Chris Jericho was the ultimate brat here, even refusing to take the title belt off and trying to wrestle whilst wearing it until Juventud Guerrera kicked him in the midsection and the belt winded him.

After that, we got a fantastic Cruiserweight match that proved to be the best thing on the show so far.

For what it's worth, this was the second Cruiserweight title vs. Mask bout in the last six months, with the first one being Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. at Halloween Havoc 1997.

This match may not have been as good as that all-time classic but it was still great in its own right.

At one point, it looked to have ended with a win for Juvi when he did get the three count but Jericho had his hand on the rope.

Afterwards a few more minutes of exhilarating action, Jericho slapped on the Lion Tamer and Juvi lost both the match and his mask.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho 

Afterwards, Juvi teased the big reveal that, under his mask, he was actually a handsome pretty boy.

All the while, Jericho acted like a complete prick, goading both Juvi and the crowd and proving why he was one of the most entertaining acts of the late 1990s.

Steve 'Mongo' McMichael vs. The British Bulldog

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - British Bulldog beat Steve 'Mongo' McMichael
In 1993, The British Bulldog had enjoyed a brief run as one of WCW's biggest main event stars.

Five years later and he was back in the company, this time as a mid-card act that would struggle to find anything meaningful to do for the duration of his run.

At least he had something of a feud going on here with Steve 'Mongo' McMichael, as the two had a rivalry which led us to a mediocre match.

After several minutes of so-so action which saw Mongo hurt his arm, Davey Boy slapped on an armbar and won the match.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

Afterwards, an irate Mongo McMichael shoved the referee over and stormed off backstage, complaining that he never actually gave up.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Benoit

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Chris Benoit challenged DDP for the US title
Making his first US title defence since beating Curt Hennig for the title on Nitro, Diamond Dallas Page put the belt on the line in a very good face vs. face match.

After a truly tremendous effort from both champ and challenger, a dramatic finish saw Page get the three count to retain.
Your Winner and Still WCW US Champion: Diamond Dallas Page

Heading back to the announcers, Tony Schiavone told us that despite earlier promising us that The Giant would be here, problems with his flight meant that he wouldn't.

He also told us that, after Kevin Nash had dropped Giant on his head like a sack of shit at Souled Out 1998, The Jackknife Powerbomb had been banned.

A brief video then showed us that happening at Souled about just in case we'd missed it.

No Disqualification Match
Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Lex Luger 

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Randy Savage met Lex Luger in a No DQ match
I don't want to say that WCW were running out of ideas at this point, but Lex Luger came out doing the bandaged-ribs gimmick that Diamond Dallas Page had only just finished doing.

Of course, the bandages -required after Luger had been beaten up by the nWo - were a natural target for Macho Man Randy Savage, who lay into his opponent despite the announcers suggesting that the two may have called a truce because they'd been spotted 'having a conversation' backstage.

Tonight, there was no truce - just a passable though immediately forgettable no DQ match in which nothing interesting happened until the finish.

Luger got Savage up for
 the torture rack, but Miss Elizabeth interfered to save her man, at which point the nWo B-Team (Scott Norton, Buff Bagwell, Virgil, and Brian Adams) all ran in.

Both Luger and Savage then sent the nWo packing, at which point Hogan came down and told his men to leave Savage because he wasn't family and that he (Hogan) was glad Savage had been beaten.

Because he had been beaten by Luger's torture rack, but we were too focussed on Hogan to notice.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Time for one more match before our main event.

World Championship Wrestling Unified World Tag Team Championship
World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Dusty Rhodes)

The 'unified' here was a bit of a stretch here as the titles being unified were the real WCW tag titles held by The Steiners and the fake ones The Outsiders had introduced after they lost the real ones.

It didn't really matter anyway, because about a minute into the match Scott Steiner turned on Rick Steiner and joined the nWo.

Ladies and gentlemen, Big Poppa Pump was born.

A minute later, Hall hit the Outsiders Edge, and this one was over.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders

Afterwards, Steiner handed The Outsiders their titles and celebrated becoming the newest member of the New World Order.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
Match for the Vacant Title
Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting

WCW SuperBrawl VIII (1998) - Sting beat Hulk Hogan for the vacant WCW title
It was once The Match of the Century, now it was The Rematch to Make Up For How Horrible the Match of the Century Had Been.

As Hogan matches go, this one was on the more entertaining end of the scale, but still, don't expect Malenko/Guerrero flashes of technical Wrestling brilliance.

What you did get was a weird match that was basically all Hogan. Until the finish happened, Sting was just a body that was there in the same way that Brad Armstrong had been for Bill Goldberg earlier.

At one point, Charles Robinson got squashed by Sting, prompting Nick Patrick to run in and shock Hulk by refusing to make a fast count.

Hogan continued to dominate anyway and cut off every bit of offence Sting made.

Eventually, Sting made the big no-sell comeback and hit Hogan with the Scorpion Death Drop, but Hogan kicked Nick on the way down.

An NWO run in ensured but Sting cleaned house and made the pin anyway.

A three count later and we had a new, undisputed  World Heavyweight Champion.
Your Winner and NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting 

Afterwards, Sting took a can of spray paint left by Savage in the NWO run-in and sprayed WCW on Hogan's body.
Ladies and gentlemen, that's the finish we should have got at Starrcade.

Had the company done that in the first place, things might have worked out very differently for them, but only time would tell whether the damage-repair job carried out tonight had been enough.

As for the rest of the card, there was a lot to enjoy, particularly Page/Benoit and the Mask vs. Title bout, though this wasn't a bad show overall and is certainly worth a casual viewing.

More SuperBrawl Reviews

1998 events reviewed so far
  1. WWF - Royal Rumble 1998 
  2. WCW - Souled Out 1998
  3. WWF - In Your House 20: No Way Out of Texas 
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  1. From Match of the Century to Re-Match of the Decade! Huh? Also Hogan vs Sting 2 was Hogan vs Sting 3 because of the rematch on Nitro. Good old WCW.

    1. And it was technically Hogan/Sting 4 since they had a match on Nitro in November of 95. ;)