Thursday, 21 February 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Superbrawl IX

WCW Superbrawl IX 1999 - Event poster
February 21, 1999 
Oakland Arena, Oakland, California

It was the year 1999. The dawning of a brand new millennium was fast approaching and the whole world was looking ahead to the future. Everywhere you went, there was a tangible sense of excitement for all things new and innovative and unknown.

How did World Championship Wrestling choose to capitalise on this forward-thinking sense of optimism for a whole new century?

By booking two of the biggest stars of the 1980s in the main event of a major PPV.

Yes, it had been the better part of a decade since Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair had been at their peak, yet tonight we'd see them go one on one for the first time on a major show since Clash of the Champions XXXIII back in August 1996.

Oh, what a long time ago that now seemed to be.






Here's what happened when Flair and Hogan took to the ring as WCW marched slowly onwards to the new millennium.

We're going to Superbrawl 

WCW Superbrawl IX 1999 - Torrie Wilson
Tonight's show began with the weirdest opening - basically, Torrie Wilson sat on a bed, wrapped in a towel and talking about how thrilled she was that an unknown, unseen man behind the camera had bought them both two tickets to Superbrawl.

I'm not sure if there was any kind of relevance to this, or if we'll even find out as the show progresses.

Anyway, this bizarre opening clip was followed by an opening video in which a number of former champions were shown as we heard Tony Schiavone's call from the moment they won their first title.

Speaking of Schiavone, we finally got to the usual introduction from the man himself and his colleagues, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and Iron Mike Tenay.

Schiavone reminded us that Flair was already a 13-time champion and that tonight, he was going up against then-current champion, Hollywood Hogan.

We were also told that Flair was dedicating tonight's match to his family. This being wrestling, that would have to play into the story of tonight's match somehow.

New champions will be crowned 

Extending tonight's opening formalities even longer than usual, we next got a look at the tag team championship tournament which had been put together to try and rebuild some kind of tag team scene in WCW after The Outsiders practically killed it off.

The video package told us that one of the most shocking things about the tournament was that it had caused Meng and Barbarian to split up.

It's worth pointing out here that Meng & Barbarian had already split up, had faced each other at the previous year's Road Wild 1998, and then only reunited at last month's Souled Out 1999, with manager Jimmy Hart telling us he'd put them back together just for the tournament.

That aside, we were told that the tournament finals would see Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko taking on Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.

Apparently, Benoit & Malenko had already beaten Hennig & Windham on Nitro but still had to beat them again in order to become champions because this was WCW and nothing was ever straight-forward in WCW.

Mean Gene Okerlund then pimped 1-900-909-9900 for us before, finally, seven minutes into the broadcast, we finally got to the ring for our first match.

Disco Inferno vs. Booker T

WCW Superbrawl IX - Disco Inferno faced Booker T
Apparently, Disco Inferno was now a fully-fledged member of the nWo Wolfpac, which should tell you everything you need to know about the state of that angle.

Regardless of his affiliation, Disco was able to put together a surprisingly good match with Booker T.

The two veterans kept things simple, building from one enjoyable spot to another with the drama intensifying every step of the way.

The crowd were super into every moment and erupted when Booker T finally hit the Harlem Hangover to claim victory in what had been a really enjoyable opening contest.
Your Winner: Booker T 

During the usual post-match replay, Bobby Heenan completely messed up calling the spots. If there was ever a show where it was obvious that The Brain had stopped caring, and might even be drunk, this one was it.

Chris Jericho (w/ Ralphus) vs. Perry Saturn `

WCW Superbrawl IX - Chris Jericho w/ Ralphus & Scott Dickinson
Last month, at Souled Out, Chris Jericho and Perry Saturn had one of the best matches on the card.

Tonight's outing, an explosive, hard-hitting battle that saw both men trade the advantage, set out to be much of the same.

The only difference this time is that as per the stipulation of him losing at Souled Out, Saturn was wearing a dress.

Tonight's match was supposed to be his chance to redeem himself. Win the match, take off the dress.

Instead, Saturn seemed quite content in his new-found career as a cross-dressing wrestler but did rip off the dress that Ralphus was wearing.

Quite why Ralphus was wearing a dress was never fully explained.

In the end, Saturn looked to have the match won.

Rather than getting the three count, however, he attacked referee Scott Dickinson, who had turned on him at Souled Out and accompanied Jericho to the ring tonight, but who then completely forgot he was now a heel and called the match right down the middle.

After taking out Dickinson, Saturn simply walked off, telling the camera that life is a drag.
Your Winner via Countout: Chris Jericho

A great match then, but a really odd ending.

Rey won't lose his mask

Out in the Internet Location, Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. claimed that they were both confident that Rey wouldn't lose his mask against Lex Luger tonight simply because Luger lacked heart.

We were then shown a video package highlighting the rivalry between Diamond Dallas Page and Scott Steiner. This whole rivalry revolved around Steiner claiming that Page's wife, Kimberly.

Moving on, the next match had nothing to do with either of those two things.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Billy Kidman  

WCW Superbrawl IX - Chavo Guerrero challenged Billy Kidman for the cruiserweight title
Short, snappy and right to the point, this was the third good match in a row on tonight's card.

If you've read any of my other recent WCW reviews, you'll know just how rare it is that I get to write that statement.

A good back-and-forth battle, this saw Billy Kidman enter into yet another solid pay per view title defence.

Not that the challenger was any slouch. Chavo Guerrero worked hard here, but it just wasn't to be his day.

Kidman hit the shooting star press and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman  

Prior to the next match, we got a brief video reminding us that Goldberg and Bam Bam Bigelow hated each other and would fight later on in the show.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship (title vacant)
Curt Hennig & Barry Windham vs. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko 

WCW Superbrawl IX - Curt Hennig & Barry Windham
I won't try and pretend I understand what was going on here.

The two teams had already met on Nitro, but to had to meet here again in what the announcers kept telling us was two different matches, but was essentially a two-out-of-three-falls type deal.

The first fall was a long, solid battle which played out exactly as you might expect a match between these four to do.

Though it ran a little long for this writer's tastes, it was a terrific effort which eventually saw Malenko lock Windham in the Texas Cloverleaf for the submission.

We were then supposed to get a thirty-second rest period, but instead, Malenko and Benoit continued to beat up on Curt Hennig.

Malenko then returned to a prone Windham, but the former member of the Four Horsemen had taken off this belt and managed to choke the current Horseman with it.

He then made the cover, got the count, and won the titles for his team.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Curt Hennig & Barry Windham 

In keeping with the theme of reminding us about matches that weren't happening yet, we were next taken back to Nitro where, in a rematch from their Summerslam 1991 classic, Bret Hart and Roddy Piper met for the US title.

Piper would defend that title against Scott Hall later, but first, Hall had another job to do.

Elizabeth's Hair vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.'s Mask
The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash w/ Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Konnan

WCW Superbrawl IX - Rey Mysterio Jr. right after losing his mask
Apparently, Lex Luger had a torn bicep, so Hall was filling in for him in teaming with Kevin Nash to defend Miss Elizabeth's hair against Rey Mysterio and Konnan, with Rey's mask also on the line.

This one turned out to be one of the best matches Kevin Nash and Scott Hall had been involved in for some years. It was strangely good fun to see the two large wrestlers throw Rey around like a rag doll, and equally as much fun to see Rey coming up with some unique offence in order to combat his adversaries.

Konnan was there too, of course, and was very over with the live crowd, but despite his best efforts, he still wasn't able to help Rey save his mask.

Luger pulled Konnan to the outside while Elizabeth distracted the referee. Rey then knocked out Kevin Nash, but a groggy Scott Hall got to his feet, planted Mysterio with a vicious Outsider Edge, then draped Nash's prone arm over him.

A three count later, and Rey Mysterio Jr. would have to unmask.
Your Winners: The Outsiders

With little of the tension and build-up that we'd seen when Juventud Guerrera lost his mask to Chris Jericho the previous year at Superbrawl VIII, Konnan helped Rey take off his mask.

Looking fed up, Mysterio merely walked off, leaving the dastardly heels to mess around in the ring wearing his mask.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner vs. Diamond Dallas Page

WCW Superbrawl IX - Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner and Jenna Flangleton
First things first, it has to be said that Scott Steiner looks weird with the TV title. It's kind of like how you'd imagine seeing The Undertaker with the European title back in the Attitude Era.

Weird or not, Big Poppa Pump lifted a "fan" (obvious plant) and brought her into the ring for a quick pre-match promo in which he told DDP that it wasn't his fault Kimberly wanted him so bad.

An enraged DDP them stormed out and beat the living hell out of Steiner, smashing him around the ring and busting him open.

That brought out Buff Bagwell, who helped his buddy turn the tables by running interference and also cutting off the turnbuckle pads to expose the bare steel.

That last move had Bagwell thrown out by referee Charles Robinson, though it was too little, too late.

The tides had turned and Steiner was able to basically maul DDP to shreds, eventually locking him in the Steiner Recliner until Page passed out.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Scott Steiner

Post-match, Page was put in a neck brace and carried out on a stretcher.

Meanwhile, in the Internet Location, Bam Bam Bigelow bragged to Mark Madden that he was very confident about beating Goldberg.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Scott Hall (w/ Disco Inferno)

WCW Superbrawl IX - Scott Hall squares up against Rowdy Roddy Piper
Ok, so this wasn't exactly terrible, but it wasn't exactly good, either.

Piper looked -and wrestled- like an old and broken man, spending almost the entire time getting beaten up by Hall.

The comeback happened, and even Hall's corner man, Disco Inferno, took a beating, much to the delight of the live audience.

Eventually, however, the number's game proved too much for Hot Rod.

Disco distracted the referee while Kevin Nash ran out and attacked.

Hall made the pin with his foot on the ropes and, three seconds later, became the new champion.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Scott Hall

Afterwards, Piper took the US title and was reluctant to hand over the belt.

Eventually, he did and was then chased off by Hall and Nash.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Goldberg

WCW Superbrawl IX - Bam Bam Bigelow faced Goldberg
This feud started all the way in the fall of 1998, when Bigelow attacked Goldberg on Nitro and the two got into a brawl during World War 3 1998.

After sidetracking Goldberg into the whole Hogan/Nash/Fingerpoke of Doom debacle, the WCW brain trust finally decided that this one needed a solid blow off.

Unfortunately, this was not a solid blow off.

What it was, was two big men who should have been smashing into one another instead spending most of their time on the mat, putting the crowd to sleep with boring submissions.

After far too much time with far too little happening, Goldberg hit the spear and this one was over.
Your Winner: Goldberg

Finally, it was onto our main event.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair 

WCW Superbrawl IX - Hollywood Hulk Hogan battled Nature Boy Ric Flair with some poontang
Although Hogan vs. Flair may not have been the most ideal main event for 1999, the two veterans nonetheless went out of their way to prove why they were in that position in the first place:

When it came down to it, they could still entertain like few others, and didn't need a whole bunch of fancy moves to do it.

Their match was relatively short, had a red-hot crowd which both men played up to perfectly, and saw champ and challenger doing the best they could with what they had.

Sure, it was mostly brawling and whipping each other with Hogan's weightlifting belt, but even those simple things proved effective.

Towards the finish, Tori Wilson made her onscreen debut, coming to the ring in a red dress to distract Flair (at least that opening shot of her did make sense now), only for Nature Boy to get the upper hand over Hogan anyway.

When Wilson's distraction didn't work, a masked man came to the ring and shocked Flair with a stun gun.

Charles Robinson woke up from a nap (he had been bumped earlier), Hogan made the cover, and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW Heavyweight Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan

Afterwards, the masked man embraced 'The Lady In The Red Dress' (as Schiavone kept calling her) before she slowly but surely took his mask off for him.

The man in the mask?

None other than David Flair, who also revealed that he was wearing an nWo shirt despite getting the living crap beaten out of him by the New World Order back at Souled Out.

Finally, Kevin Nash came down for no real reason and he, Hogan, David Flair and Torrie Wilson celebrated to end the show.






After a run of terrible pay per views in 1998, World Championship Wrestling finally put on a card that wasn't frustrating, boring, or otherwise just terrible. 

Sure, it had its weak points; Roddy Piper should not have been competing, and the Goldberg/Bigelow fiasco was a huge disappointment, but other than those mistakes, this was a good show.

The undercard was better than any WCW PPV undercard had been for some time, and the main event was better than probably any WCW main event had been for the better part of three years. 

Again, Flair vs. Hogan wasn't perfect, but after it was all said and done, it turned out the two icons of the 1980s did still have a place in pro wrestling at the end of the millennium.




Other WCW Superbrawl reviews:


  • WCW Superbrawl VI (1996)
  • WCW Superbrawl VII (1997)
  • WCW Superbrawl VIII (1998)

  • Other 1999 pro wrestling reviews:

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