Happy New Year!
...feels a little bit weird saying that when we're closer to February than December, I admit...
World Championship Wrestling presents: SuperBrawl III
Thursday, Week 4, February 1993
Your announcers: Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Paul E. Dangerously
Ring announcer: Gary Michael Cappetta
Backstage: Eric Bischoff, Patricia Robinson and Jason Hervey
Sting capitalised on his position as WCW figurehead to bring in an early copy of SuperBrawl Wrestling to play with the boys before the show … Given the game’s not due out until late ’94, I hope they manage to get Rick Steiner and Johnny B. Badd off the roster before then … El Tigre Blanco and Lance Storm have struck up a strong friendship ... Sting/Pillman getting an A* wasn’t exactly a massive shock. Sting now has 2 to his name in this diary, quite apart from dominating the top 100 against various members of the Dangerous Alliance and Diamond Exchange
Ross: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the very best wrestling you could possibly ask for as WCW comes into your homes live on pay-per-view!
Dangerously: And because the Dangerous Alliance is the Dangerous Alliance we’re going to see Rick Rude destroy Bret Hart, Steve Austin beat three other men to retain the United States title, Owen Hart take down whatever challenger is lined up for his Television title and in the main event there’s going to be something truly beautiful as Brian Pillman becomes the WCW World champion and ends Sting’s reign of terror!
Schiavone: Reign of terror? Do you ever listen to anything that comes out of your mouth, Paul?
Dangerously: All the time, Schiavone. It’s the best way to get good commentary around here.
Ross: Be that as it may, folks, we also have Steamboat and Taylor for the NWA World title, Sid Vicious and Marcus Bagwell – that’s right! – against the Stocks And Shares Express for the NWA tag titles.
Schiavone: We also have Barry Windham tying it up with the Steiner Animal, Scott Steiner, and the Diamond Mine defending the United States tag titles against the Young Pistols.
Ross: And let’s not forget the historic announcement of the latest members of the Four Horsemen!
Schiavone: It’s going to be a big night – maybe the greatest night in the history of our sport!
Ross: You may well be right, Tony. Let’s take it down to ringside to find out who’s going to be challenging Owen Hart...
Schiavone:...it’s the Post-Soviet Superstar, Nikita Koloff!
Ross: And that’s a huge challenge for Owen Hart! Koloff may be the strongest man in WCW!
Schiavone: No smart remarks, Paul?
Dangerously: If you must know, I’m preparing a campaign of revenge against Koloff and anyone else who gets in our way – if this ambush tactic causes Owen to lose the Television title!
Nikita Koloff vs. Owen Hart (c)
Faced with the unexpected in the form of the Post-Soviet Superstar, Hart wisely bailed out of the ring to consult with Madusa. Koloff was having none of that, though – reaching through the ropes he grabbed Hart’s blonde hair and dragged him back into the ring, before hurling him right across the mat in an incredible show of strength! With no hope of overpowering his challenger, Hart had to make do with putting his speed and technique to their best use, which just about balanced the scale against the Lithuanian. Hart fell victim to a Sickle, but Madusa was in place to get her client’s foot on the bottom rope to break the count. As Koloff argued with the referee and demanded Madusa’s ejection from ringside, Hart used the top rope as a springboard to launch himself across the ring, drilling Koloff with a Missile Dropkick to snatch the three count before Koloff could recover! (B)
Dangerously: That’s five! Owen’s done it!
Schiavone: And not only is that a lot of money for this young man, but that guarantees him a shot at a title of his choice – and I wonder if that might mean a match against Steve Austin or Brian Pillman in the near future?
Dangerously: Oh please, Schiavone. You ought to know the Alliance better than that…
Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Fifi walked down the aisle to a rapturous response from the fans in attendance. Flair beamed as he soaked in the adulation, and even Anderson looked pleased at the fans’ reaction.
Flair: For too long the Horsemen have been absent from WCW – but tonight we ride again!
Anderson: The Horsemen are back, but this isn’t just about making sure the World title stays around the waist of the Nature Boy. Not this time! We both want to make sure that the Horsemen of the 1990s are as great as we were. Because we know that chances are, the way the Horsemen ride, Ric and I won’t see out this decade at the top of the pile, the way we came into it.
Flair held up a hand to forestall the crowd’s saddened reaction.
Flair: It’s 1993. We’ve got a lot of years ahead of us, and a lot of roads to ride, but we’re looking to the future, and that’s why we’ve been looking for great young talent that we can pass the reins to – when the time comes. And having taken a couple of months to scout the best talent from around the globe, without further ado please welcome the new members of the Horsemen... the Thrillseekers, Lance Storm and Chris Jericho!
The crowd cheered the arrival of the popular young duo who, like Anderson and Flair, were dressed in sharp suits, looking ready to be Horsemen.
Anderson: And! The Horsemen know talent when we see it, and during our scouting we came across a young talent with incredible technical skill – and after the show we caught him in the bar, and he had the women hanging off him. And that’s a Horseman! So please welcome the fifth Horseman... Steven Regal!
The young Englishman walked down the aisle and joined his new colleagues in the ring, but before the group could do any more...
Race: I’d say that I hate to crash a party, but I’ve never minded spoiling your day, Ric. Now, you go ahead with your fraternity nonsense, because the Mastodon here has waited long enough. You see, we’ve been let down – Curtis Hughes, Ron Harris, Don Harris... They seemed like they walked the same path as Vader. But it’s become clear that’s not the case. So they’re gone, and in their place-
Jericho and Storm caught the attention of the other Horsemen, turning them around to the sight of...
...the Malenkos vaulting the crowd barrier, lead pipes in hand.
Race: And not just them, but someone who was too violent for the Horsemen, which seems to make him ideal for the Kingdom!
Mike Awesome emerged from backstage, joining Vader partway down the ramp, flanking Race. Awesome was toting a baseball bat in his hands, and looked about as fearsome as Vader, unarmed but masked, huge and seemingly only restrained by Race partly blocking the way to the ring.
Race: Now, you boys can go haze the new kids, or whatever you have planned. We’re going to get to work, getting our new members trained and ready to fight Vader. And if they can survive that, then anything else will be simple!
Race turned and walked up the aisle, Vader and Awesome following him, the Malenkos circling around the ring before disappearing backstage in their wake. The Horsemen, new and well-established, were left alone in the ring. Anderson looked troubled as Flair tried to rally the troops.
Dangerously: I think their celebration got cancelled.
Ross: If Flair and Anderson thought they just had to bring in some fresh blood for it all to go back to the way they’re used to, Harley Race clearly had other ideas.
Moving right along, a man who rejected the Dangerous Alliance came face-to-face with the group’s leader. The former World champion was aggressive from the off, perhaps spurred on by back-to-back defeats in recent big matches. Hart had to fight defensively, but for the Hitman it was clear that wasn’t a disadvantage – simply an alternative way of inflicting damage on Rude.
Schiavone: He’s playing rope-a-dope! And Rude’s punching himself out!
Despite Dangerously’s protestations, Rude was certainly struggling to land the killing blow – and when Hart reversed a Rude Awakening attempt into a dangerously close two count, Rude bailed out of the ring. Rather than consult with Madusa, however, he seemed ready to walk out of the match until Hart chased up the ramp and the two exchanged punches. As the referee threatened to count the two out, Hart caught Rude with a boot to the gut before delivering a piledriver on the wooden ramp, drawing gasps from the crowd as Rude was left spasming on the ramp. Hart coolly broke the referee’s count before dragging Rude back into the ring, where a Russian legsweep and an elbow drop from the second rope brought two more close falls. Rather than get frustrated, however, Hart delivered a backbreaker to further jolt Rude’s spine, before grapevining Rude’s legs and turning him over into the Sharpshooter.
Ross: And this was enough for Sting – will Hart’s version be as effective? Can Rick Rude escape?
With the hold locked in, and Hart seemingly anchored in the centre of the ring, Rude reached vainly for the ropes, for Madusa’s outstretched hands, even for the official to try and break the hold... but nothing came within reach, and with Hart twisting his legs and spine in unnatural ways, Rude had no choice but to surrender! (A)
Dangerously: No! No! No!
Ross: Yes! You may not like it, Paul, but Hart’s won!
Hart slumped to the mat, releasing Rude and showing the effect of his efforts as he could barely raise his arm even with the referee’s help. Rude seemed less effected even as he rolled to the outside, but once there he again shrugged off Madusa and stood on the ramp, hands on his head as he stared into space. He didn’t look back at the ring as Hart pushed himself upright, instead walking slowly up the ramp, shaking his head as he walked, limping heavily as he clutched at his back, leaving Madusa in his wake.
Dangerously: This is... just a temporary setback, nothing more!
Backstage, Sting was running through some last-minute exercises ahead of the main event, stretching to loosen up his muscles and joints.
Dangerously: I suppose he thinks he should try and keep up with Brian? Well, good luck with that!
WCW United States Tag Team Titles
The Young Pistols vs. The Diamond Mine (c)
Months after the Pistols lost the US tag titles to the Diamond Mine the two teams clashed once more – and the burgeoning confidence of both sides could be seen as they threw everything that they had against one another, bombarding one another with their biggest and best moves. Steve Armstrong was lucky to survive Snake Eyes from Vinnie Vegas, only his partner’s intervention saving the pinfall. Tracy Smothers nearly got the win himself when the Pistols caught Diamond Studd with a double Missile Dropkick, but Studd managed to hook a leg over the rope to break the count. As the official tried to get the match down to two legal men, he missed DDP climbing onto the apron and, as Armstrong lunged at him, DDP socked him with a fistful of silver dollars, dropping Armstrong like a stone. As the referee turned around, Studd covered Armstrong for the tainted – but official – pinfall to retain the titles. (B)
Ross: What a sickening result!
Schiavone: I have to agree with you, Jim. Too bad for the Pistols – but fire like that makes me think Commissioner Ventura will keep them in mind for a rematch, and soon!
Eric Bischoff was waiting outside the Dangerous Alliance locker room for Owen Hart, who emerged with a broad smile on his face.
Bischoff: Owen, congratulations on your victory tonight. Can I ask who you’ll be challenging with your guaranteed title shot?
Hart: You can ask, but you’re not getting an answer, not now.
Hart: That information is on a need to know basis, and right now you don’t need to know! Maybe I’ll share it tonight, maybe I’ll wait until Thursday, or maybe I’ll sit on that title shot until the moment’s right and then BANG, new champion!
Hart: But for right now? That’s between me... and the rest of the Dangerous Alliance.
NWA World Tag Team Titles
Sid Vicious and Marcus Bagwell vs. The Stocks And Shares Express (c)
Even after all this time, it’s still jarring to see Richard Morton and Robert Gibson fighting without honour – no matter how much money it may be making them! While the Express initially had some success double-teaming Bagwell, against the monstrous Sid they had no such luck, and so rattled were they that Bagwell got back in on the action, nearly taking a win with a Diving Crossbody from the top that his mentor would have approved of! With the Express on the back foot, Alexandra York’s computer seemed to suggest that discretion was the better part of valour and they walked away from the match, taking the countout loss – but keeping the titles! (B-)
Dangerously: He who learns to run away lives to fight another day.
Ross: Or to put it another way, you’ve gotta know when to fold ‘em.
Dangerously: Hey, you and I agree on something, Ross!
Ross: Excuse me while I go take a shower...
As the Diamond Mine celebrated their victory backstage with champagne, beautiful women and big cigars Commissioner Ventura crashed the party.
Ventura: Gentlemen, great win – you got the job done, by any means necessary, and I appreciate champions and competitors who can see beyond the obvious. But you know that titles have to be defended every month and this weekend is your last chance to defend...
Ventura pointed to the set of World tag title belts, being sported around the waists of two statuesque blonde women.
Ventura: ...those. And as it happens, I have plenty of teams queuing up to compete for them.
As Ventura turned and walked away Cactus Jack and Ultimate Warrior appeared in the doorway of the Diamond Mine locker room. Diamond Studd was quick to his feet.
Studd: What the hell do you want?
Cactus was practically bouncing up and down as he looked at the trappings of the Diamond Mine’s success.
Cactus: Is this how champions train? Looks like fun!
Warrior: Champions in name, but not in heart. The rewards of a true warrior are a harder fight tomorrow.
Cactus: I thought it was to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women?
Warrior: That as well. Come, Jack, there is much work to be done.
Warrior steered Cactus away as Vinnie Vegas shook his head, picking up a bottle and taking a swig.
Vegas: “Champions in heart,” pffahh. I’ll take champions-in-paycheck any day!
Barry Windham vs. Scott Steiner
Fans wanting a decisive finish were left waiting again here, but certainly not wanting for action! Renewing a rivalry that months ago focused on tag gold, Windham and Steiner tore into one another like wild dogs, both seeming to enjoy the challenge of the other. The fight spilled out of the ring and out of the official’s control, and neither man seemed willing to show any restraint, but the referee called an end to affairs when Windham swung a chair at Steiner and gave the Animal the DQ win... (B)
...although Steiner was quick to snatch up a chair of his own and the pair tried to wipe one another out before security managed to intervene, separating them even as they tried to reach one another.
Dangerously: Let them fight!
Schiavone: And put them both on the injured list? No, Commissioner Ventura won’t go for that – not unless he has the chance to make more money out of it!
Like Sting before him, Ricky Steamboat was intent on his last-minute training ahead of his big title match. And with his allies Sid Vicious and Marcus Bagwell still fuming over the tainted finish to their match earlier in the night, Steamboat looked extra motivated as he wound down his routine and headed to the ring.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Terence Taylor (c)
From early in this match it was clear that the Stocks And Shares Express’ ‘tactical retreat’ was in Taylor’s thoughts, as the Computerised Man of the ‘90s tried to bail out of the match after Steamboat landed nearly all the offence in the opening exchanges. But the arrival of Vicious and Bagwell made it clear that escape wasn’t an option for the champion, and even when the Express tried to ambush Steamboat’s allies, that only obstructed the ramp even more. Taylor was left with no option but to fight Steamboat, and he set about the task with grim determination. With York and her laptop working overtime at ringside to try and keep strategies coming for her client, Taylor did manage to land a few good hits, but Steamboat was not to be denied, and with a Diving Crossbody from the top rope he finally managed to put Taylor down for three – and become the new NWA World champion! (B+)
Schiavone: Steamboat is the champion! The Dragon takes the gold!
Ross: And the NWA knows that it has a champion it can be proud of – and one who’ll face any and all challengers who come his way!
As the York Foundation gathered around Taylor, Bagwell and Vicious entered the ring to congratulate Steamboat. At first it seemed like they wanted to hoist him on their shoulders, but the disparity in height made that impossible, and instead Steamboat sat on the shoulders of Vicious alone, his newly-won title belt held aloft as Bagwell applauded his mentor and the fans cheered.
Ross: And it just looks right.
Randy Savage vs. Dustin Rhodes vs. Steve Austin (c) vs. Shawn Michaels
This was never going to pretty. Not pretty, not controlled, and not slow, either. The official wisely took the decision to stay out of the way of the four fighters, between whom the levels of hatred have ramped up significantly over the last several weeks. Even between Dustin Rhodes and Randy Savage, partners in War Games less than a year ago, the desire to become United States champion – and perhaps as importantly, take the title from Austin – had stoked the flames of rivalry. What that all meant was wild chaos, with no quarter asked and none given, no alliance lasting for more than a few moments, and some unusual teammates working together, if only temporarily. Perhaps none was stranger than Austin and Rhodes, working together late in the match to fell Michaels with a barrage of punches and clotheslines that left their fellow Texan down in one corner of the ring. The brief spell of cohesion was interrupted as Savage sprang from the top rope and levelled Rhodes with a double axehandle, however – one which left the Macho Man open to a low blow from Austin!
Dangerously: No disqualification! Austin can do whatever he wants to – and he will!
As Savage dropped to the mat, Austin hauled Rhodes upright and dropped him across the top rope with a Stun Gun. That was enough, with the added impact of Savage’s attack, to leave Rhodes down and give Austin the win – and allow him to keep his title! (A)
Ross: I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about this for some time to come...
Patricia Martin joined Austin in the ring, but before she could ask any questions Austin snatched the mic from her.
Austin: I’ll handle this. You want to know how I feel? You want to know what I think? I’ll tell you – I’m the Superstar, the greatest wrestler in WCW, the reigning United States champion and I’ll guaran-damn-tee it right now that I’m a future World champion.
Austin: The great news is that I’m still young, Trish. I’ve got a lot of time left ahead of me, I’m just way ahead of the game with how fast I’m getting things done around here.
Austin: So the way I see it, the World title comes back to the Dangerous Alliance real soon – probably tonight, when Brian takes out Sting, and if not then, well...
Austin slapped the United States title draped across his shoulder.
Austin: ...who’s about to say I’m not the number one contender after retaining my title against three other men tonight?
Sting (c) vs. Brian Pillman
The Dangerous Alliance have been a thorn in Sting’s side since their formation, but so to has he been a perennial obstacle in their bid to dominate WCW. With Rick Rude defeated, it remains to be seen if any other member of the Alliance can take down the Stinger – and Pillman seemed to feel he was the one to do it. Opening at top speed, Pillman showed himself to be one of the few members of the WCW roster who may be even more athletic than the World champion. A dropkick sent Sting through the ropes, and Pillman was quick to scale the turnbuckles, diving from the second rope onto Sting on the arena floor, thousands of flashbulbs erupting as the fans in attendance captured the stunning moment.
Sting had to give everything to keep up with his challenger. He tried to work on Pillman’s legs and back, but such is Pillman’s agility and technique level that the champion found it hard to keep hold of him for long. Where he did find success, though, was in using his incredible strength to hit Pillman hard with strikes and moves.
Schiavone: He can hurt Pillman – if he can catch him!
Used to being the faster man in most matches, Sting took time to adjust to his opponent’s pace, and on several occasions Pillman came close to victory. A Shining Wizard might have done it, had Sting not landed within arm’s reach of the ropes, and while Pillman dragged him into the centre of the ring, the slight delay was enough that Sting got his shoulder up a fraction of a second before the referee counted to three. Pillman fought to remain calm, but when an attempt at a System Crash was foiled by Sting rushing the ropes and forcing Pillman to jump awkwardly clear, the challenger was slow to improvise – and Sting was able to hoist him high overhead with a military press. As Madusa covered her eyes at ringside Sting crossed the mat and launched Pillman high into the air, sending him flying over the top rope to a hard landing on the ramp, the thunderous crash echoing through the arena as fans groaned in sympathy.
Ross: Pillman looks like he’s been in a car wreck!
Dangerously: I feel like I have...
Pillman struggled to his feet, the wind clearly taken from his sails – and before he had the chance to recover Sting was airborne under his own power, hurling himself over the top rope with a flying tackle that sent Pillman sprawling once again. The impact left both men down, and somehow Pillman was the first to get back to his feet, but whatever adrenaline rush got him upright seemed to make him careless; Charging at Sting, he left himself open to a back body drop that launched him high into the air and over the top rope to another hard landing back in the ring.
Ross: That’s only a thin ring mat, folks. Believe me when I say that Brian Pillman felt all of that, and will be feeling it for days to come!
Sting climbed wearily back into the ring, grabbing Pillman’s legs and grapevining them with his own. Pillman fought hard, bucking and thrashing to prevent Sting locking on the hold, but with his legs taken out from under him and his body aching, perhaps for the first time in the match Pillman found his strengths neutralised by the champion. Unable to reach the ropes or fully counter Sting’s strength, Pillman held out as long as he could as Sting turned him over, sitting back into the Scorpion Deathlock and locking Pillman down in the centre of the ring. Pillman scratched and clawed at the mat, as he pulled at his own hair and bellowed in frustration, and Sting held on, grimly, wearily... and successfully, as Pillman accepted defeat rather than allow his body to be bent completely in two! (A*)
Sting released the hold, sinking to his haunches as Pillman rolled wearily from the ring, slamming his hands on the ringside mat in frustration at the missed opportunity. As Sting rose slowly upright and raised his hands to salute the crowd, the thousands upon thousands of Stingers roared their support for their idol...
Ross: What a match! A tremendous effort from both competitors, and all credit to Brian Pillman – on another night we’d be saluting a new champion!
Dangerously: We would Ross, but them’s the breaks – and there’s always next time.
...and Owen Hart walked down the aisle.
Hart: I have to hand it to you, Stinger. I really didn’t think you’d make it past Brian. I know him better than anyone, and I thought he had your number for sure... but I guess you’re even better than I gave you credit for. And that’s great news, Sting, because the next person you’ll be defending your World title against...
Hart: ...is me!
Hart: And as great as you are, Stinger, you’ll be facing the Hart Dungeon’s greatest graduate, a Triple Crown champion here in WCW, a wrestler with all of the Dangerous Alliance’s resources behind him.
Hart: And that means your days as champion are numbered!
Sting, barely able to stand after a near half-hour war with Pillman, stared up the ramp at Hart, who was joined by Steve Austin, Madusa, and even by a limping Pillman.
Ross: Sting barely even gets to draw breath before a new challenger emerges!
Dangerously: And not just any challenger, Ross. The next World champion!
Schiavone: Well, that remains to be seen, but folks, thanks for joining us here at SuperBrawl, and we’ll see you on Saturday night!