Retro Review: WCW Fall Brawl 1996

WCW Fall Brawl 1996

WCW is at war.

Remember that, because the announcers remind you of that multiple times during this broadcast. WCW Fall Brawl brings us the big Team WCW vs Team nWo match in War Games. It really is the match that should have ended the nWo a couple years later but that is a story for another day.

The big story for this match is that everyone in WCW believes Sting joined the nWo on the previous Nitro as he came out of the nWo limo and attacked Lex Luger. Of course, we all know this ended up being a fake Sting. I remember as a kid even recognizing that it was not the real Sting. But to the untrained eye you probably could not tell. The nWo is still fresh at this point and had not overstayed its welcome like it had a year later. Everything the nWo did still felt like a big deal.

We’re in North Carolina with Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes on commentary.

Diamond Dallas Page vs Chavo Guerrero Jr.

I was really excited when I heard Eddie Guerrero’s theme song playing. Sweet, DDP vs Eddie! But no, Chavo Guerrero came out instead. Talk about a huge buzzkill. Chavo sends DDP to the outside early then hits a swanton over the top and he almost hits the apron. Here we are 25 years later and Chavo is still in the wrestling business. Why do people keep paying this bland wrestler money to do things?

Chavo continues to beat down DDP on the outside. Tony says Chavo shouldn’t care about winning or losing, just getting some of his family’s pride back. Imagine having Chavo, out of everyone in the Guerrero family, fighting to get your pride back. Might be better off sending Hector out in the Gobbledy Gooker costume.

DDP has not got a lick of offense in as he sits in the ropes. Chavo charges but DDP moves and Chavo barely goes through the ropes to the outside. DDP is to the point where he is starting to get over with the crowd now. And since Chavo has never been over the crowd seems a bit more pro DDP.

DDP is getting the heat on Chavo but since the crowd does not care about Chavo, there are no claps and stomps for a comeback. DDP then wildly misses on a kick to let Chavo start his comeback. I’ll give Chavo some credit as he hits a nice missile dropkick and head scissors take over for two. DDP then tosses Chavo into the second ring and they start wrestling in it. I guess that is okay.

Both men exchange control until DDP hits a nice gut wrench sit out powerbomb which pops the crowd. DDP then finally hits the Diamond Cutter for the win. I always forget how over the Diamond Cutter was back in the day.
We get a Special Report on “The Attack” that the now has put on WCW. What is the point of doing this on the PPV?

This is what you do to get people to buy the PPV. Putting it on during the PPV is dumb.

Submission Match: Scott Norton vs Ice Train w/Teddy Long

Oh man, the match where Fire and Ice explodes! Are there more than five people in this crowd that care about it? The ref has the mic to ask these guys when they give up but thankfully is not sticking it in their face every 30 seconds. Teddy Long is trying to get a ‘TRAIN” chant going but no one is helping him out.

I guess a cross armbreaker is called a Code Red in WCW. News to me. Teddy Long gets on the apron and looks like he might throw the towel and the crowd encourages it, probably so this match ends. But Long gets off the apron. To this day I still wonder how Scott Norton got an IWGP title run in New Japan. I couldn’t tell you one memorable Scott Norton moment in his entire career.

Ice train keeps going for the same big splash every fifth move and Norton keeps moving or getting his knees up. Norton applies a Boston Crab then another armbar. Clearly Norton learned from Chris Jericho. Long keeps getting on the apron and I have no idea why Norton is so concerned. He might help you by throwing in the towel! Norton goes after him so Ice Train applies a Full Nelson and Norton gives up. I enjoyed my second cup of coffee this morning much more than that match.

Mexican Heavyweight Championship: Konnan (c) vs Juventud Guerrero

Konnan doesn’t even have the Mexican Heavyweight Championship with him. The graphic to spell his name also only had one N in the middle. He’s Dungeon of Doom at this point and tosses Juvi to the outside. Juvi comes right back and hits a dive off the top rope for two. Nick Patrick is also the referee. He’s sucked his entire ref career but is even worse now since he is nWo.

Konnan throws Juvi towards the rail on the outside and they both awkwardly stop to allow Juvi to jump on the railing. Thankfully, Konnan just power bombs him on the floor so it makes up for it. Some old gray haired woman gives a pep talk to Juvi on the outside. It doesn’t work as he eats a clothesline back in the ring.

There’s some more sloppiness from both men as Juvi awkwardly tries to headscissors Konnan from one ring to the next. A bit later, Konnan hits an awful dropkick to the outside. At this point Konnan kind of realized WCW didn’t care about workrate and started to care more about his character. Juvi sets Konnan up on the top, then stupidly back flips off into the ring. That allows Konnan to jump off himself and just dropkick him.

The announcers are starting to give up on this match. Tony says Mike Tenay doesn’t know what a ramification is. Dusty says something about Tenay knowing because he read Dusty’s book. Konnan finally ends it with a Razor’s Edge into a powerbomb off the second rope, called the “Power Drop”, for the win. Lots of sloppiness in that one. I guess Konnan retains the Mexican Heavyweight Championship that may or may not exist.

Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

Alright here we go. Now lets get down to business. Don’t forget the show is in North Carolina, the heart of Horsemen country. That means the crowd is going to be into it as they get the loudest they have been all night as Benoit just throws Jericho down tot he mat by his hair then hits a hard Alabama Slam. Benoit then applies the Walls of Jericho, with the knee to the back of the head and everything! Just a FYI, I can separate Benoit matches from the awful stuff Benoit did so I am going to enjoy any Benoit match I watch.

Both men decide to open a chophouse on each other until Benoit goes to the abdominal stretch. Benoit hits the flying headbutt off the top and only gets two. I don’t remember that move just being a setup move during his WCW days. Benoit decides to serve Jericho some seconds from his chophouse in the corner.

Jericho counters a Benoit tombstone attempt with a tombstone of his own for two. They go to the top. Benoit hits ab backdrop off the top for the win. Heenan calls Jericho a future star in WCW. Well he would become a future star, just not in WCW.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs Super Calo

Bump-bump-ranna. That’s what I hear every time I hear Rey’s WCW theme. I loved Super Calo’s mask as a kid. This guy was wrestling in sunglasses! Some moron yells boring two minutes into the match. Does this guy want them to bring back out Scott Norton or something?

Rey hits a springbroad ranna to the outside then goes for a dive but swings himself around in the ropes when Calo moves. We even get a funny spot where Randy Anderson looks at the ropes then back at Rey and motions his finger around like WTF did you just do? Calo tosses Rey to the outside then hits a falling missile dropkick and then flips over the top and kind of lands hard on Rey lying on the ground.

The problem with Super Calo is he doesn’t fly as much as Rey, Juvi or Psychosis so this match is more mat based and it isn’t really good. And as I type this Calo hits the most awkwardly times clothesline that looks awful. Then for some reason they make a point of looking at Calo’s skater like kneepads. Rey finally wakes the crowd up with a somersault senton to the outside onto Calo.

Back in the ring Calo grabs the arm of Rey while Calo is on the top and drops it on the ropes. Calo then tosses Rey into the railing. Rey then hurricarranas Calo to the outside then this time hits a springboard somersault senton to the outside. Rey bounces off the ropes on both rings then goes into the frankensteiner pin for the win. Crowd liked that but didn’t care for the rest of the match.

WCW Tag Team Championship: Harlem Heat (c) w/Sister Sherri and Col. Rob Parker vs The Nasty Boys

The Nasty Boys were still getting tag title shots in 1996. What a time. It pays to be buddies with Hulk Hogan I guess. This is in the middle of the love storyline between Sherri and Parker. I’m pretty sure it comes to an end at the next Clash of Champions. The crowd is actually chanting for the Nastys too.

Heenan says both teams are slowing it down after a staredown on the outside. I see it as both teams probably being winded after 2 minutes into the match. The Nastys are in control until Sherri jumps on the apron. The distraction allows Booker T to come in and knee Knobbs. Now Harlem Heat slows down the match again. Yawwnnn.

Knobbs is dumped to the outside and gets distracted by Sherri. This of course allows Harlem Heat to attack him on the outside. Sherri runs through the rings as Sags awkwardly chases her. Booker misses the Harlem sidekick and Sags gets the hot tag in. He blows up after about 30 seconds of moving around despite sitting on the apron the majority of the last ten minutes.

Sags pulls Sherri in then does nothing. Sags rolls up Booker for two then hits a piledriver as Bobby Heenan is amazed the Nastys are actually using a wrestling hold. Sags goes to the top. Col. Parker awkwardly hits Sags with his cane, causing Sags to fall off the ropes. Booker hits the Harlem sidekick this time as Sherri, Parker and Stevie Ray take it to him on the outside.

All hell breaks loose in the ring as all four men brawl. Knobbs ends up with a pin attempt but Sherri comes in with the ref distracted and hits Knobbs with the cane, allowing Booker to pin him for the win. The Nastys can never lose clean in WCW I swear.

Macho Man Randy Savage vs The Giant

Savage cuts one of his crazy lunatic promos that are always good. Man, Savage should have never joined the nWo. He would have been a great foil for them. Of course we wouldn’t have gotten the great Page/Savage feud but it would have been better long term if Savage stayed WCW.

Nick Patrick is the referee here so expect some kind of shenanigans. Savage won’t let Giant into the ring. Eventually Giant pulls Savage out. Savage goes for a slam but Giant lands on him instead then press slams Savage into the ring. The crowd gets distracted by something and at least they can play it off as a potential nWo run in like Heenan does.

Giant has a bearhug applied and Nick Patrick ha the stupidest look on his face as he asks Savage if he gives up. Nick Patrick might be the worst referee ever. Even before this nWo stuff.

Giant misses a knee drop as Savage goes to work. Savage eventually slams Giant then hits the Elbow Drop. Out comes Hollywood Hogan. Savage already has a title match against Hogan at Halloween Havoc. Savage chases Hogan down but he walks right into a trap as the Outsiders attack with a chair. Nick Patrick is “distracted” by the Giant and as Savage gets thrown back into the ring Giant gets the pin for the win.

Team WCW is interviewed. As they are Sting comes in. Sting says it wasn’t him. Lex says he knows it was him and he looked right in his eyes when he cheap shot him. Sting says if you don’t believe him fine, but he will see them in awhile.

War Games: Team nWo vs Team WCW

Michael Buffer is here reading off the rules of War Games. Scott Hall and Arn Anderson are here to start the match. I don’t like that the teams stay in the back during this match. These are really the only two guys that could start the match for both teams. Of course, Arn always starts a War Games match if he is in it.

The crowd loves it as Arn goes to work on Hall stomping and kicking him with boots. Both men exchange control as the time ticks away. With under a minute left Arn hits his spinebuster to pop the crowd. The nWo, we are told, has won the coin toss. The history of War Games shows that the heels win every time until the most recent NXT women’s match. Kevin Nash sprints out to the ring without tearing his quad.

They toss Arn into the side of the cage and the top of the side looks very weak as it looks like it bent out. Lex Luger comes out before the clock expires. Luger hits a double clothesline and slams Nash head first into the cage. Hogan comes out to give the nWo the advantage again. The crowd erupts into a “We Want Flair” chant with one minute remaining.

Flair gets into the ring and makes Hogan come over to him. Dusty says he doesn’t know if Hogan can beat Flair one-on-one. Apparently he forgot all of their matches in 1994. Flair gets the advantage and low blows all three members of the nWo and the crowd loves it.

Sting comes out for the 4th man of team nWo. Nash powerbombs Luger and thankfully gets him up and down without dropping him on his neck like Sid did to Pillman. The camera shots are doing a good job of not getting a close up of this Sting. The nWo Sting hits a Stinger Splash on all three members of WCW. As the clock counts down, out comes the real Sting.

The crowd loves it as the real Sting comes in and hits four Stinger Splashes on team nWo. Luger looks at Sting and Sting says “IS THAT GOOD ENOUGH” and tells Luger to stick it and leaves. I thought that was really well done and obviously sets up what Sting would end up doing or the next year. Team nWo takes control as the Fake Sting applies the Scorpion Death Lock and Hogan applies a headlock. Nick Patrick says Luger gave up as Team nWo gets the win.

As the cages rises Team nWo continues to beat down everyone. Luger is crawling to the back as he yells for Sting. The announcers start to realize that if they had just trusted Sting things would have gone differently. They brawl up the entrance. Savage comes out but the nWo quickly beats him down and takes him to the ring. Elizabeth comes out and she begs Hogan to leave Savage alone. She covers Savage so Hogan spray paints the back of her dress.

Hogan takes the mic and says Elizabeth and Savage are two pieces of trash. They made the commitment to be together until death do them part and Hogan will make sure of it.

A very average show with a hot main event and a good angle in it and after. The angle during the match would obviously set up WCW for the next year. Basically at this point WCW was so hot they could put on an average show and get away with it. The fans had not started to care yet.