THE SPECIALISTS Nostalgia Review: WCW SuperBrawl III; Sting vs. Vader Strap Match, Hollywood Blondes, Barry Windham vs. The Great Muta, Cactus Jack vs. Paul Orndorff
Feb 18, 2008 - 6:30:29 AM
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Brian Hoops, PW Torch.com Nostalgia Specialist
PW Torch.com Nostalgia Review
WCW SuperBrawl III
By: Brian Hoops, PWTorch.com Nostalgia Specialist
This week’s look back at wrestling nostalgia takes us back to February 21, 1993 and the WCW PPV, SuperBrawl III. SuperBrawl was the annual February PPV for WCW and this year it was held in Asheville, North Carolina before 6,500 fans. The main event of the show was a strap match between WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Big Van Vader and Sting. The show opened with Eric Bischoff with co-hosts Missy Hyatt and Johnny B. Badd. Announcers were Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura. Maxx Payne played the national anthem on his acoustic guitar and pyro went off to begin the show.
1. The Hollywood Blondes, Brian Pillman and Steve Austin defeated Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Erik Watts in 16:34. This is one of the earliest matches, and certainly the earliest PPV match that Pillman and Austin were called the Hollywood Blondes. Pillman and Austin had instant and excellent chemistry together, similar to a modern day Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley. Pillman and Austin were supposed to be the heel team, however the crowd cheered everything they did and booed Erik Watts anytime he was in the ring. Match was very good with Austin and Pillman working over Watts for the bulk of the match. Finish came when Watts made the tag to Bagwell and Bagwell cleared the ring. Bagwell had Pillman in his finisher, the PerfectPlex, and Austin came off the top rope on Bagwell and Pillman pinned Bagwell. A very good opening bout.
Bischoff announced that Ric Flair was returning to WCW and would be in Asheville tonight. They showed Missy Hyatt in the garage area trying to get an interview with Ric Flair, only security turned her away and Flair was led from his limo into the building. The crowd was chanting “we want Flair.”
2. Too Cold Scorpio pinned Chris Benoit in 17:57. The time limit before the match was announced as a 20 minute time limit, however they teased the match went 19:57 and Scorpio was able to pin Benoit with only 3 seconds left in the match. They had a great, technical match as both they worked well together as they had similar styles. Both were relative newcomers to WCW at this time, they crowd tried to cheer for Scorpio and didn’t know Benoit well enough to get behind him. Strong match that ended after both guys tried their big moves and Scorpio rolled up Benoit for the pinfall.
3. Davey Boy Smith defeated Bill Irwin by pinfall in 5:32. This was Davey Boy Smith’s debut match for WCW. Smith was allegedly fired by Vince McMahon along with the Ultimate Warrior for using steroids as McMahon was preparing for his steroid distribution trial at this time and Smith and Warrior had the two biggest physiques in WWF, so they were the scapegoats. It was a nothing match with Smith dominating Irwin. Finish came when Irwin came off the top rope and Smith caught him in midday and turned it into a powerslam. Schiavone interviewed Smith and it went no where.
4. Cactus Jack defeated Paul Orndorff in a Falls Count Anywhere match in 12:17. Bischoff was trying to interview Orndorff prior to the match, when Jack came after Orndorff with a shovel. This was the blowoff to a feud that started on the WCW weekend programming and had been building for months. They were on the floor for the first 5 minutes of the match. Cactus came off the middle turnbuckle to the concrete floor with a sunset flip for a near fall. That was a crazy bump that had to kill his lower back. Orndorff then worked on Jack’s back, including a suplex on the guardrail. Then Orndorff went to work on Jack’s knee. Orndorff brought a chair in the ring and set up Jack for a piledriver on the chair. However, Jack grabbed the shovel and hit Orndorff and covered him for the pin. A good, brawl style match.
5. The Rock & Roll Express; Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, defeated The Heavenly Bodies; Dr. Tom Pritchard and Stan Lane in 12:52. The R & R Express and The Heavenly Bodies were competing in Smoky Mountain Wrestling at the time and The Heavenly Bodies were the champions. The SMW Tag Team Titles were not on the line in this match. Bobby Eaton came to the ring with the Bodies but was sent to the back by ref Nick Patrick. The match was a very old school tag team match, featuring several double team maneuvers by each team. Smoky Mountain Wrestling was built around tag team wrestling and this match was done very much Smoky Mountain style and the match built into a very solid tag team match. Eaton, who had come back out to the ringside, came off the top rope and landed on Tom Pritchard by mistake, which allowed Gibson to cover Pritchard for the pinfall.
6. Dustin Rhodes defeated Maxx Payne by disqualification in 11:28 to retain the WCW U.S. Heavyweight Title. Payne was a substitution for the injured Ron Simmons. Dusty Rhodes had the book at this time for WCW, which led to a lengthy U.S. title reign for Dustin in 1993. Payne was not over in the least with the fans and was not ready for such a high profile match. In fact, Payne really didn’t develop a personality until he teamed with Cactus Jack in 1994. The match was painfully boring and had an equally bad ending. Rhodes had Payne in an abdominal stretch and Payne grabbed the referee and pulled him into Rhodes. The ref disqualified Payne and Rhodes kept the title.
7. Barry Windham defeated the Great Muta in 24:11 to win the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Ric Flair came out to join commentary for the match with Ventura and Schiavone. This was Windham’s first and only world title reign, a championship he admittedly felt he was promised in 1991 when Flair left WCW for the WWF. Match was slow early, but had good psychology and a strong finish. Muta went for the moonsault but Windham brought his knees up. Windham them used his DDT on Muta for the clean pinfall. Flair climbed in the ring to strap the belt on Windham, which Windham didn’t appreciate and they had words. This was a prelude to their title match later in 1993.
8. Big Van Vader defeated Sting in a leather strap match in 20:57. Big Van Vader, Leon White; began wrestling in the AWA for Verne Gagne after a short NFL career. White went to New Japan after his AWA days and was given the Vader gimmick by Masa Saito. Originally, the Vader gimmick was supposed to go to Jim Hellwig, but after a WWF tryout; Hellwig was signed to a WWF contract and given the name The Ultimate Warrior. After working in Japan for the majority of his wrestling career, Vader was fresh and was dominant heel force in 1992 and 1993. Vader had won the belt back from Ron Simmons in late December 1992, however the title was not on the line for this match. Vader and Sting had a good rivalry going and as of this match, they were 1-1 on PPV matches. Rules of the match were both men were connected by a leather strap and to win one man had to touch all four corners consecutively. Pinfalls and submissions did not count. Vader came out in control of the match, using his power and Ventura was good at playing up the advantage that Vader had in being strapped to Sting as Sting could not use his speed to keep away from Vader. Despite the limitations of being strapped together, they had an excellent match with each man gaining an advantage, only to lose the advantage to the other. Vader suffered a legit busted ear drum during the match and was bleeding from the ear. They each teased touching three of the four turnbuckles for a “near fall” spot. Finish came when Sting picked up Vader on his back and began to carry him on his shoulders, touching the corners in the process. A very impressive feat considering Vader’s size. Vader was clearly trying to support himself on Sting in an effort to stay on his shoulders. When Sting picked Vader up, Vader’s legs hit ref Nick Patrick and Patrick went down on the ropes. Sting touched three corners but when he went to the fourth corner, Sting tripped over Patrick and didn’t touch the last corner. Vader then tied Sting’s legs together and drug Sting around the ring. As Vader was about to touch the final corner, Sting kicked his legs free and knocked Vader back into the final corner for the win. One of the better strap matches that you will find.
Bischoff interviewed the NWA Champion, Barry Windham and he challenged anyone to come and get his title. Show closed with Ventura and Schiavone recapping the PPV.
Summary: This was a very good PPV, with several good matches. The Windham title change was significant and they effectively setup his next feud with the returning Ric Flair. Sting and Vader blew off their feud with a strong main event and several fresh acts; Hollywood Blondes, Too Cold Scorpio, and Chris Benoit made their WCW PPV debut. I would recommend this PPV for your viewing pleasure.
Next week; I will go back 10 years and review the 1998 SuperBrawl PPV which featured a rematch for the WCW World Heavyweight Title between Sting and Hollywood Hulk Hogan.
Thanks for reading this week’s nostalgia column. As always, your comments, questions and suggestions are welcome. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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