Welcome to SuperBrawl 1992! We last left with Sting winning the inaugural Battlebowl at Starrcade. In doing so, he defeated Lex Luger and positioned himself as the obvious top contender for Luger's WCW Championship. He would get his shot at this event, in a match-up that fans had been looking forward to for years. Beyond that, the Dangerous Alliance of Paul E. Dangerously, Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Larry Zbyszko, and Bobby Eaton were continuing to dominate the midcard. Rude was the United States Champion, Austin the Television Champion, and Anderson and Eaton the tag team champions. Also, this is the first pay-per-view after Jim Herd was fired as Executive Vice President. His tenure had been a rocky one, and he had driven away several major stars, including Ric Flair. I don't think anyone was sad to see him go. His successor was Kip Frey, whose is best known for instituting a bonus system that paid out to the wrestlers he felt had put in the most effort in their match on a particular night. Watching this show, it definitely seems like that had an effect. Anyway, let's get to the action:
You hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura, making his first WCW pay-per-view appearance.
WCW Light Heavyweight Championship: Jushin Liger (c) vs. Brian Pillman
Alright, that's a good way to start a show. Nice pops for both guys. The crowd is definitely anticipating this one. They both fly around the ring to start with neither getting an advantage. Pillman applies an Armbar. Pillman gets shot to the corner, but slings and hits a Headscissor. Liger rolls to the floor and gets hit with a Baseball Slide. Liger takes down Pillman and gets a Toe Hold. Pillman escapes and shoots Liger to the corner, but he jumps up top and hits a Moonsault! Pillman gets a Snapmare and applies a modified Abdominal Stretch. He transitions into a Headscissor. Liger frees himself and tries for the Surfboard, but Liger gets out. Liger sends Pillman to the corner and hits a Dropkick. Pillman gets a Crucifix for a two count. Liger gets a Sunset Flip for two. Big Back Suplex by Pillman. Another two count. Pillman misses a charge and Liger works on the knee. Liger locks on a Figure Four! I guess he's allowed to do that since Flair is in the WWF at this point. Pillman fights and manages to turn it over, but Liger rolls them over again. They get to the ropes.
Liger zeroes in on the knee. Pillman nails an Enziguri, but his leg is too hurt to get up. He charges Liger, but gets Backdropped to the floor. Liger comes off the top rope with a Somersault Splash to the floor! Wow. Pillman limps to the ring apron. They fight over Suplex attempts until Pillman slams Liger's head into the turnbuckle. He comes off the top with a Springboard Clothesline! Pillman goes to the apron and Suplexes Pillman over the top to the floor! Ventura puts this over as one of the greatest matches he's ever seen, and he's not lying. Pillman hits a Plancha to the floor. Pillman tries a dive from the apron, but ends up impaling himself on the guardrail. Back in the ring, Pillman hits a picture perfect Dropkick. He goes to the top and he goes for a Missile Dropkick. Liger tries a Dropkick of his own, and they both hit. Both men down. They make their way up and Pillman gets a Powerslam. German Suplex by Liger for a very close nearfall. Liger takes Pillman up to the top rope, but Pillman counters the Superplex attempt and drops him on his face. Pillman hits a Crossbody for another close nearfall. This 1992 crowd has never seen a match anything like this. Pillman sends Liger into the ropes and telegraphs a Backdrop. Liger counters with a Powerbomb! That gets another two count. Liger tries another Powerbomb, but Pillman counters with a pinning combination that I can't even begin to describe. That gets two. Liger telegraphs a Backdrop and gets DDTed. Liger grabs the rope to break up the pin. They run the ropes and do a Double KO. Pillman rolls to the apron and goes up top. Liger crotches him.
Liger Superplexes Pillman for another two count. Wow. Liger goes to the top and misses a Splash. Pillman takes advantage and cradles him for the pin at 16:57.
Result: Brian Pillman by pinfall (New WCW Light Heavyweight Champion)
Analysis: *****. Holy shit. That's the best opening match I've ever seen. This is a match years ahead of its time. How many Americans had ever seen that kind of action at this point? They just went all out. Non-stop action for 17 minutes. Not really a story beyond both guys putting everything they had into it to try to get the win. The crowd showed great respect for both guys and were totally won over by the end of the match. In a few years, Rey Mysterio and company would be putting on similar matches routinely, but this was years ahead of its time. There's a reason they picked these two guys to wrestle the first match in Nitro history a few years after this.
Marcus Bagwell vs. Terrance Taylor
Don't think these guys are going to be able to match the opener. The savvy veteran Taylor takes on the enthusiastic rookie Bagwell. We get comments from Taylor before the match, where he expresses disdain for Bagwell. Some basic stuff ends with Bagwell hitting a Hip Toss. Shoves and punches follow. They fight out to the ramp and Bagwell hits an Inverted Atomic Drop, followed by an Atomic Drop, followed by a Clothesline back into the ring. Bagwell goes to the top and hits a Cross Body for two. Taylor bails. Back in, Taylor tries a Suplex but gets caught in a Sleeper. Taylor gets the ropes and dumps Bagwell to the floor. Taylor beats up Bagwell on the floor. Back in, Taylor counters a Backdrop attempt with a Gutwrench Powerbomb. Ventura makes a comment about Bagwell crying for his mother that is oddly prescient. Taylor hits a top rope Splash for a two count. Bagwell counters a Piledriver attempt with a Backdrop. Bagwell follows that with a roll-up for the pin at 7:38.
Result: Marcus Bagwell by pinfall
Analysis: **1/4. Basic match. Good heat, good job working the crowd by Taylor.
Missy Hyatt interviews Harley Race, who says Luger is ready to go.
Ron Simmons vs. Cactus Jack
Slugfest to start. Cactus charges Simmons but gets hung up into the ropes. Simmons slams Cactus into the guardrail. Ventura points out that Simmons is being a dick, and JR can't really disagree. Cactus counters a charge with a back elbow. He follows that with a Double Arm DDT. Cactus gets a Leg Drop for a two count. He throws Simmons to the floor and slams him into the guardrail. He slams Simmons and drops the elbow from the second rope. Back in, Simmons misses a Dropkick. Simmons escapes a Chinlock and hits a Dropkick. He charges, but misses and flies out onto the ramp. Cactus follows him and gets hit with a Spinebuster on the ramp. Back in the ring, Cactus rakes the eyes and hits a Bulldog. He goes to the second rope and comes off, but Simmons catches him with a Powerslam for the pin at 6:34.
Result: Ron Simmons by pinfall
Analysis: **1/2. Fun brawl.
Abdullah the Butcher hits the ring and jumps Simmons. He beats him down with his giant stick. Junkyard Dog hits the ring and drives Cactus and Abdullah from the ring. JR throws in some uncomfortable references to JYD "being ready to street fight, just like in the hood."
Van Hammer and Tom Zenk vs. Vinnie Vegas and Richard Morton
Vinnie Vegas is Kevin Nash, repackaged with another terrible gimmick. He really couldn't catch a break in his first run. Ventura comments that "there ain't no money in bodybuilding" a shot at the fact that Vince McMahon was starting a bodybuilding company. Of course, Luger was leaving after this show to join it. I love Ventura. Hammer and Morton start. Unsurprisingly, Morton gets the crap beaten out of him. Even as a heel, he's still Ricky Morton. Nash tags in and gets hit with an Arm Drag. Nash is wrestling in dress pants, a dress shirt, and suspenders. He looks completely ridiculous. Nash tries a leap frog(!), Hammer gets him with a Headbutt to the groin. Wow, he really got up there. Nash reverses a ten punch by running Hammer into the opposite turnbuckle. Zenk tags in and goes up top. He hits a Missile Dropkick. Morton tags in and gets Clotheslined over the top to the floor. Zenk follows that with a Plancha to the floor.
Morton gets back in the ring in tags in Nash. Hammer tags in. Nash gets a Side Suplex. Morton tags in and, for perhaps the first time in his life, works a heat segment. Nash tags in, hits a big boot, and riles up the crowd with a dice rolling motion. I'm not being sarcastic when I say I can't believe WCW didn't see potential in him. He's flying around the ring here and has obvious charisma. Nash hits a diving Shoulderblock. He and Morton actually make a pretty good tag team. Hammer hits a shoulderblock and manages to tag in Zenk. Zenk hits a Powerslam, then reverses a corner charge into a Sunset Flip for the pin at 12:01.
Result: Van Hammer and Tom Zenk by pinfall
Analysis: ***. That was shockingly good. Everyone was working hard. It's incredible how much better Nash looked here than in his last match on PPV (against Ron Simmons at Great American Bash last year).
Steve Austin and Larry Zbyszko vs. Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes
Austin and Zbyszko are both members of the Dangerous Alliance. This is Windham's first PPV match since having his hand broken by Zbyszko and Arn Anderson at Halloween Havoc last year. Rhodes fought Austin to a time limit draw for the Television Title at Halloween Havoc, so plenty of history here. All four guys brawl to start with the faces getting the advantage. Windham and Zbyszko brawl on the ramp while Austin and Rhodes fight in the ring. After things calm down, Austin and Rhodes start the match. Austin comes off the top and gets caught with a Lariat. He rolls outside to catch his breath. Windham tags in. He Dropkicks Austin and then forces him to tag in Zbyszko. They end up out on the ramp, where Zbyszko tries a Piledriver but gets Backdropped. They head back to the ring where Windham hits a DDT. Rhodes tags in and he and Windham team up for a Double Backdrop. He goes to work on Zbyszko's arm. Windham tags in and hits a Gutwrench Suplex. He tries a Piledriver, but Austin Clotheslines him. Zbyszko throws Windham over the top behind the referee's back.
Zbyszko Atomic Drops Windham on the railing. Ouch. Austin tags in and goes to work on Windham. Austin and Zbyszko tag in and out, both controlling Windham. Windham manages a Back Suplex out of a Headlock, but can't make the tag. Ventura zings JR's Oklahoma Sooners, saying their players are the only guys take a pay cut when they go from college to the NFL. JR doesn't really have any response, as Oklahoma was notorious dirty at the time. Zbyzsko locks on a Sleeper. Windham escapes with a Jawbreaker. They do a Double KO and both men make tags. Rhodes gets an Inverted Atomic Drop and follows it with a Dropkick. Rhodes was really fluid and technically sound at this point, but he hadn't developed the in-ring personality that would later make him famous as Goldust. Austin levels Rhodes with a Clothesline and he does the full 360 spin sell. Zbyszko tags in. I enjoy watching him work-he just comes off as very nasty in the ring. It looks like he's really trying to hurt his opponent. Rhodes telegraphs a Backdrop and gets hit with a DDT.
Rhodes goes after Madusa and get cut off by Austin on the ramp. Austin gets a Chinlock back in the ring. Dustin gets out and hits a Crossbody. Austin comes back with a Clothesline and tags in Zbyszko. He works over Rhodes. Austin tags back in and continues the heat segment. Austin charges Rhodes, who drops him on the top rope. Rhodes tags in Windham! He lights up Zbyszko with right hands. Windham gets Zbyszko up on the top rope, but Larry throws him off. Rhodes knocks Zbyzsko off the top rope as Windham goes up to the opposite turnbuckle. Windham comes off with a Flying Clothesline and gets the pin at 18:23.
Result: Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes by pinfall
Analysis: ****. Awesome tag match. Austin was a much better tag wrestler than people remember. Him and Zbyszko were textbook heels here, ruthlessly working over both babyfaces. Windham and Rhodes did a great job of engaging the crowd in their comebacks. Forgotten gem right here.
WCW World Tag Team Championship: Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton (c) vs. The Steiner Brothers
Alright, it's another Dangerous Alliance tag match. Anderson and Eaton beat Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes to win the belts in January. Steamboat and Rhodes had won the belts from Anderson and Larry Zbyzsko, who won a tournament for the vacant belts after the Steiners were stripped of them due to Scott's bicep injury. This is the Steiner's first championship opportunity since then. Paul E. Dangerously accompanies Anderson and Eaton to the ring. These are four of the greatest tag team wrestlers in history, so my expectations are pretty high here.
Dangerously is ejected right off the bat. The crowd loves that. Eaton and Scott start off. Scott throws him around. Scott telegraphs a Backdrop and gets hit with a Neckbreaker. He goes to the top. Eaton tries an Ax Handle, but Scott catches him and hits a Belly to Belly Suplex. Arn tags in, as does Rick. Anderson tries a leap frog and gets Powerslammed. Scott tags in, leading Eaton to hit the ring. Eaton and Anderson both get Clotheslined over the top rope by Rick. Long stalling session follows. Finally, Arn gets back in the ring. He throws Scott to the floor, but his attempts to double team out there end with him and Eaton being slammed head-first into each other. Scott applies a Chinlock on Anderson inside the ring. Scott gets baited outside by Eaton, so he goes out and hits a Tilt-a-Whirl Slam on the ramp. Wow. Scott applies a Camel Clutch. Of course, that would become his finisher during his singles run. Rick and Scott hit the Doomsday Device on Eaton while the referee is distracted. Rick goes to the top and comes off, but Eaton gets him with a low blow. That allows Anderson to start the heat segment. Scott breaks that up by coming in and hitting a Belly to Belly Suplex.
Anderson comes off the second rope and gets hit with a Lariat. Scott tags in and hits a Backdrop. He Suplexes Arn, but ends up getting thrown into Eaton by Anderson. Eaton and Anderson work on Scott. Eaton hits a Knee Drop from the top rope. Anderson tags in and DDTs Scott. Anderson applies a Boston Crab and tags in Eaton. Eaton grabs a Chinlock. Scott gets thrown onto the ramp, where Eaton and Anderson team up to hit the Rocket Launcher. Back in the ring, Scott hits a desperation Clothesline and tags in Rick. Rick lights up both Anderson and Eaton. Rick goes for a Superplex, but Arn stops him and sets him up in the Electric Chair. Doomsday Device by Eaton, but it turns out Rick caught him and turns it into a pin! Wow, never seen that before. Rick hits the Steiner Bulldog on Arn, but the pin gets broken up. Arn gets powder from Madusa and throws it in Rick's eyes. He's blinded, so he accidentally grabs the referee and Suplexes him. He then throws Anderson to the floor. Scott hits his Double Underhook Powerbomb. Scott hits the Frankensteiner on Eaton for the pin at 20:06.
The referees huddle for several minutes and end up ruling that it's a disqualification because Rick attacked the referee and threw Anderson over the top rope. The Steiners would get the belts a few weeks later at a house show.
Result: Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton by disqualification
Analysis: ***3/4. Really good match. The Steiners weren't quite at the top of their games here, but it was still very good.
WCW United States Championship: Rick Rude (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat
Rude comes down the ramp cutting his typical pre-match promo and the heat is so loud you can barely hear him. Steamboat is out with a masked ninja accompanying him. Steamboat starts fast with chops and a Face Driver. Steamboat works on Rude's arm. He ends up wrapping it around the ring post. Rude fights his way out of an Armbar and pounds on Steamboat in the corner. Steamboat goes right back to the arm. He Hammerlocks the arm and Body Slams Rude. Always loved that move. Steamboat gets a Body Press for two. Arm Drag, Armbar. Rude fights out and hits a Cross Body. I think they were supposed to go over the ropes, but the ropes are so tight that it doesn't happen. On the outside, Rude drops Steamboat on the guardrail. Up on the apron Rude hits some forearms. He hurts his arm more in doing that. Back in the ring Rude hits a Clothesline, again hurting his arm. Rude applies a Chinlock. Steamboat gets out and Rude drops him on the top rope. Rude hits a Piledriver. That gets a two count. Rude Back Suplexes Steamboat. Another Chinlock from Rude. Steamboat gets out with a Kneebreaker. He locks on the Figure Four. Rude gets out and drops Steamboat with a Clothesline to the back of the head. Rude goes up top and hits a big fist. He flexes, but only with his uninjured arm. Rude goes back up top and hits a forearm to the back of the head. Another Chinlock from Rude. He transitions that into a Camel Clutch. Steamboat lifts him into an Electric Chair Drop! Wow.
They run the ropes and do a Double KO. Rude gets a Sleeper and locks the legs in. Steamboat's arm drops twice, but he fights his way out. Steamboat locks in a Sleeper of his own. Rude gets out with a Jawbreaker. Rude goes to the top, but Steamboat crotches him. Superplex by Steamboat! Rude gets out at two. Steamboat drops Rude with a kick to the back and mocks his hip-gyrating dance. Steamboat gets a Flapjack and goes up top. He hits the Flying Chop! He goes to the top rope again. As he does, the ninja climbs up on the apron and smacks Steamboat in the head with a cellphone. Dangerously was in the ninja costume! Nice twist. He had been banned from ringside. Rude gets the pin to retain at 19:57.
Result: Rick Rude by pinfall
Analysis: ****. I really enjoyed that. It was definitely methodical, but they both did a good job of selling. Crowd was absolutely rocking by the end. Everyone remembers Rude for his character, look, and promos, but I don't think he gets enough credit as a worker.
WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Lex Luger (c) vs. Sting
Fans have been anticipating this one for years. Sting comes out with a big entrance, complete with fireworks and smoke. Luger is out second with Harley Race. Staredown and trash talk to start. Pretty good atmosphere as the crowd cheers all through the several minutes of jawing. Luger hammers Sting early. He misses a charge and Sting hits the Stinger Splash. Luger answers that with a Clothesline. Powerslam by Luger. He signals for the Torture Rack, but Sting drops out and gets a Back Suplex. Sting Racks Luger! Sting counters a Backdrop attempt with a jumping DDT. Luger rolls outside. Sting follows him out and puts him into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Sting gets a Backdrop and applies the Scorpion Deathlock. Luger quickly gets the rope. He takes over with some shots to the ribs. Sting chokes Luger and gets hit with a low blow. Luger hits an Inverted Atomic Drop. He follows that with a Military Press. Luger goes the for the Attitude Adjustment and hits it. Sting kicks out at two. Sting fights back with right hands and a Face Buster. Sting drops Luger on the top rope. Sting rakes the back. Sting misses a charges and falls to the floor.
Race tries a Piledriver behind the referee's back. Sting Backdrops out of it. He climbs to the top rope and hits a Flying Bodypress to get the win and become new WCW Champion at 13:02.
Result: Sting by pinfall (New WCW Champion)
Analysis: **1/2. Kind of a phoned-in performance from Luger. He was on his way out of the company to join Vince McMahon's disastrous World Bodybuilding Federation. He wouldn't return to the company until 1995.
Sting celebrates with the belt as the show ends.
Overall: Great show. Not a single bad match on the entire show. Everybody worked hard, everyone managed to do something decent. The main event wasn't great, but the stuff on the undercard more than made up for it. This really makes me wish Kip Frey had lasted longer as the man in charge of the company.