Recaps (PPV/Event)

[PPV Recap] ‘WCW Fall Brawl 1995’ – War Games, Anderson vs. Flair, Badd vs. Pillman

Date: September 17, 1995
Venue: Asheville Civic Center (Asheville, NC)
Commentators: Tony Schiavone & Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan

The third annual Fall Brawl features Hulk Hogan’s first time in a War Games match, as he leads his team into battle against The Dungeon of Doom. Also on the show Ric Flair takes on Arn Anderson for the first time, Johnny B. Badd and Brian Pillman fight to become #1 contender to the United States Championship, and Harlem Heat tries to win back the WCW World Tag Team Championship from Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater. Let’s goooo.

Champion Roll-Call

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan
  • WCW United States Champion: Sting
  • WCW World Television Champion: The Renegade
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions: Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater

The Lineup

  • #1 Contender’s Match: Johnny B. Badd vs. Brian Pillman (****1/4)
  • Cobra vs. Craig Pittman (SQUASH)
  • The Renegade [c] vs. Diamond Dallas Page for the WCW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
  • Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater [c] vs. Harlem Heat for the WCW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (*1/2)
  • Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair (****1/2)
  • War Games: Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Sting, & Randy Savage vs. The Dungeon of Doom (*)

*****

The opening video goes over the matches of Fall Brawl and calls the PPV a ‘continual bombardment of excitement’. I’ll be the judge of that, thanks.

Video concludes and after some pyro and ballyhoo we go to our commentary team, Tony Schiavone and Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. Apparently an hour before on Main Event The Giant destroyed Hulk Hogan’s motorcycle with a monster truck, their feud that began in the summer continuing. Hasn’t been brought up on #everyNITROever quite yet but looks like that’ll change soon.

#1 Contender’s Match (United States Championship)
Johnny B. Badd vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman

A rare face vs. face match where the winner gets a shot at the face champion. Lots of faces. Has anyone opened as many PPVs as Badd did back in WCW? Even when I watch stuff like Starrcade 83 I half-expect to see him in the first match. Testament to his popularity though as WCW thought highly enough of him to start their big events off right. And I’ll admit it I’m a big Johnny B. Badd fan/apologist. I think he gets a bad rap because of his WWF stint that came after, but before then the guy just kept getting better and better. You know, if you ignore the fact he’s imitating a famous African American performer despite being (a very tanned) white guy. Michael Buffer handles the in-ring introductions to give this one extra gravitas but must wait for Badd to do his Badd Blaster thing. BUFFER HAD TO LOOK AT HIS CARDS TO REMEMBER WHAT TOWN HE’S IN. Tremendous.

Badd backs Pillman in the corner but breaks clean since they’re friends. They shake hands and lock up, Schiavone mentioning that the winner gets their title shot on the September 30th edition of Saturday Night. Aw man I don’t even get to see the payoff? Stupid WWE Network. Pillman escapes a hammerlock with a hip toss and takes him to the mat with a side headlock. Badd escapes, both men leapfrog and try to dropkick, ending in a good ol’ standoff. Both men escape wristlocks in theatrical ways, Pillman goes back to the side headlock takeover. Badd and Pillman dosey-do themselves to the mat while trying for hip tosses, and Pillman recovers first for a two-count. Badd with a schoolboy but Pillman’s in the ropes so the ref doesn’t make the count. Pillman with a drop toehold into a bridging roll-up for 1…2…kickout. One snapmare later and Pillman has a chinlock applied. Pillman floats over Badd into what I think was supposed to be a headscissors but it wasn’t and rolls Badd up again for another two-count. Back to the chinlock goes Flyin’ Brian. I think I’m being too detailed in these recaps, this paragraph shouldn’t be so long for such little action. I apologize, I’ll work on it. Okay I probably won’t. Badd reverses a corner Irish whip, Pillman floats over but Badd takes him to the mat and slaps on a reverse chinlock. Pillman tries a hip toss, Badd rolls through and holds on to keep the chinlock applied. Nice.

Pillman escapes with a backbreaker and covers for a two-count. It looks like Badd is busted open but the camera is trying to avoid his face so I can’t tell. Pillman locks in a Boston Crab but drops the hold to punch him instead. YUP, HE’S BLEEDING. Pillman starts jaw-jacking, playing into the heel role the crowd has forced him into. Badd takes over once again, going from a toehold to a leglock to a surfboard until Pillman gets to the ropes to force a break. An angry Pillman shoves Badd, Badd shoves back and the crowd pops. Pillman backs Badd into the corner and hits a back elbow, the crowd booing. An angry Badd lays into Pillman with a series of jabs, Pillman bails to the floor and teases leaving but decides to stay as the crowd verbally abuse him. Pillman wants another handshake but Badd isn’t buying it. Pillman sends Badd to the floor, Badd climbs the apron and Pillman BITES THE CUT. Badd rams Pillman in the turnbuckle and follows up with a slingshot legdrop for the 1…2…Pillman kicks out and Badd transitions into a chinlock. Both men try a leapfrog and crack heads, sending them crashing to the mat. Badd gets to his feet, Pillman headbutts him and they fall back to the canvas. Pillman kicks Badd to the floor as Buffer announces that five minutes remain in the contest. Pillman tries to suplex Badd back in but Badd reverses it and Pillman falls to the floor. Badd follows up with a slingshot plancha and rolls Pillman in. He heads to the top, Pillman counters whatever he was trying to do with a dropkick for the 1…2…kickout. Badd counters a backdrop with a Liger Bomb for the 1…2…PILLMAN KICKS OUT. Pillman connects with a Tombstone Piledriver for the 1…2…BADD KICKS OUT. Pillman goes for a tornado DDT, Badd throws him off and covers for the 1…the 2…the KICKOUT. Despite only being around two minutes left in the contest Badd applies an armbar. Pillman hits Badd with a Russian legsweep and applies a modified cross armbreaker. Almost looks like an MMA move to be honest. One minute remains as Pillman has Badd in a modified seated abdominal stretch. Badd almost passes out but finds his second wind, countering a backdrop attempt with a faceslam then hits his Tutti Frutti right hook for the 1…2…PILLMAN IS UNDER THE ROPES. Pillman belts Badd with a clothesline and rolls him up with a backslide but the bell sounds.

Looks to be a time limit draw (20:00) but the ref says there must be a winner and we go to Sudden Death! Bell rings and Pillman immediately attacks Badd. They fight to the floor, Pillman whips Badd into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Pillman tries a missile dropkick and Badd goes for a dropkick of his own and both men are down. Pillman is up at 8 and locks in a sleeperhold. Badd falls to the mat, Pillman wraps his legs around him for additional pressure. Badd almost passes out but gets a surge of energy to prevent the KO. Badd escapes the hold and applies one of his own, Pillman counters with a belly-to-back suplex. Pillman crotches Badd on the top turnbuckle and slaps him arrogantly. Pillman tries a superplex, Badd throws him off and hits a flying sunset flip for the 1…2…PILLMAN KICKS OUT. Badd tries another Liger Bomb, Pillman counters with a hurricanrana for the 1…2…BADD KICKS OUT. Pillman goes for a crucifix, Badd drops down with a sorta Samoan drop for the 1…2…NOPE NOPE NOPE. Badd seats Pillman on the top turnbuckle and hits a flying hurricanrana (Badd Day) for the 1…2…PILLMAN GETS THE SHOULDER UP. Badd sets Pillman up for Badd Day again but Pillman fights him off and hits a tornado DDT for the 1…2…NOOOOOPE. Pillman heads to the top, Badd hits the ropes and crotches him. Badd launches Pillman like a lawn dart into the guardrail and follows up with a slingshot somersault plancha Badd rolls Pillman in and tries a slingshot splash (Badd Mood?) but Pillman GETS THE KNEES UP and covers for the 1…2…STILL NO. Pillman drops Badd across the top rope and Badd stumbles to the floor. Pillman measures him and tries to hit a tope suicida but misses most of it (Badd still sells the move though). YIKES. Pillman ends up crotching himself on the top rope and Badd covers for the 1…2…Badd’s foot was under the rope so the ref stops the count. Both men duck clotheslines and hit each other with a crossbody at the same time, Badd lands on top for the 1…2…3! Hot damn. (9:07)

Johnny B. Badd defeated Brian Pillman via pinfall (29:07 total)

  • Now that’s how you start a PPV, hot damn. The initial 20 minutes were a little slow as they fought to fill time but once that sudden death period hit they went all out and had a great dramatic back and forth that just built and built until Badd finally got the win. This is a good match that turned great thanks to the extra nine minutes at the end and Badd gets a well-earned win that makes him instantly credible as a challenger to Sting come September 30th. Hell yeah. Props to Pillman as well for reading the crowd and getting more heel-ish with his moveset as a result; remember in the old days of mainstream pro wrestling when wrestlers would actually respond to the crowd and adjust accordingly? I miss that. Anyway this match may be a little hard to get through at the beginning, but my god is worth it by the end. (****1/4)

After some filler from Schiavone and Heenan we go backstage where ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is standing by with ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair. Flair goes over his history with Arn Anderson, how they bonded over the 80s as part of the Four Horsemen and how Anderson became like the brother he never had. Flair calls it ironic that they return to Horsemen Country to face one another as opposed to standing side by side, and tells Anderson he’s going to ‘face greatness’. Okerlund asks Flair if he hates Anderson; Flair says he loves him, so much so that he’s going to have show him in the ring tonight. TOUGH LOVE, WOOOO!

Cobra vs. Sgt. Craig ‘Pitbull’ Pitman

Cobra is formerly one-half of the tag team Thunder & Lightning and a year away from finding his stride as the fake Sting. Right now he’s embroiled in a feud with Pittman as they’re both old military adversaries or something. His theme music is nothing but Morse Code and it’s obnoxious as hell. I remember liking Cobra though, not entirely sure why but you like a lot of dumb things at 9.

Pittman’s music hits and out pops a young military dude instead (the future Prince Iaukea). Cobra argues with the kid as Pittman repels from the ceiling. Pittman sneaks up from behind and chokes Cobra with his bullet sash as the bell rings. Cobra manages a brief spout of offense by sending Pittman into the ring post, but the Pitbull’s mission will not be deterred and he wins in short order with the Code Red Armbreaker.

Craig Pittman defeated Cobra via submission with Code Red (1:21)

  • I remember this getting a decent build en route to Fall Brawl so it’s surprising this one was so short and Pittman was so dominant. I guess WCW gave up on Cobra a lot quicker than anticipated. Pittman even got the cool entrance too, which really made him more of a face than anything because he used smart tactics to defeat his opponent. Eh, was what it was but enough of anything to really give it a proper rating. (SQUASH)

A video plays of ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff getting life advice from psychic Gary Spivey (and Spivey’s ridiculous fake afro) following yet another loss. Orndorff’s delivery of ‘GARY SPIVEY, OF THE PSYCHIC’S COMPANION NETWORK?’ is amazingly terrible and one of the funniest moments I’ve ever seen in pro wrestling. Anyway Spivey gets Orndorff into gear and Orndorff remembers that he’s indeed Mr. Wonderful. This is AWFUL but FUN AWFUL so I’m giving it a pass. Plus it leads into one of the funniest entrance themes of all-time so how can I hate it?

WCW World Television Championship
The Renegade [c] [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart] vs. ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page [w/ The Diamond Doll & Maxx Muscle]

DDP won 13 million dollars in the lotto earlier in the year and is doing a ‘white trash rich’ gimmick, complete with the heel trope of treating The Diamond Doll like crap despite her being way out of his league. Schiavone likens it to the ‘cute girls date jerks’ nonsense single idiots believe in high school. Renegade, WCW’s fake Ultimate Warrior, made his debut earlier in the year at Uncensored and despite being bad in the ring and no one caring got pushed right into the Television Championship with wins over Arn Anderson and Paul Orndorff. Yikes. I feel for the guy, I would have taken that job too in a heartbeat, but WCW really did him a disservice trotting him out before he was truly ready.

DDP attacks Renegade from behind, connecting with a Russian legsweep into a lateral press but Renegade throws him off and out to the floor. DDP ends up in the crowd and Renegade headbutts him before bringing him back ringside. Renegade with a buckle shot followed by a theatrical side headlock. Schiavone drools over Renegade’s muscles but honestly it isn’t all that impressive; he’s more in shape than I am of course but he’s not a freak specimen or anything. Renegade connects with a standing lariat, DDP kicks out at two. Renegade goes for a crossbody but DDP dodges and he hits the ropes HARD. DDP hits a neck snap over the top rope and forces the Doll to give him a ‘10’. Oh right they’re doing that gimmick too. DDP connects with another spinning neckbreaker and Doll reluctantly gives him another 10. Renegade gets sent out to the floor with a knee and climbs back up, trying a sunset flip but DDP lands on top for the 1…2…Renegade rolls him up for the 1…2…kickout. DDP misses a shoulderblock and goes right into the post. Renegade mounts a comeback, including a back-handspring splash in the corner (?!?). Renegade follows up with a double axhandle from the top for the 1…2…NAH. DDP connects with a jawbreaker and counters a hip toss with a DDT. Renegade shrugs off a Diamond Cutter and rolls him up for the 1…2…kickout. DDP connects with a right hand, Muscle climbs the apron and Renegade whips DDP into him, following up with a powerslam. Renegade goes back to the top and splashes Muscle, who was threatening Hart. Renegade gets back in the ring, Muscle holds the leg and DDP hits him with the Diamond Cutter for the 1…2…3!

Diamond Dallas Page defeated The Renegade [c] via pinfall with the Diamond Cutter to win the WCW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (8:07)

  • This is DDP’s first singles title and first major championship overall and he truly deserved it; the man went from a manager to a wrestler at age 35 and worked his ass off improving himself year after year. He isn’t in his final form here yet but he’s getting there. As for Renegade, his reputation precedes him in regard to his in-ring work but you know what? He wasn’t bad here. In fact this might be the best match of his I’ve seen. Sure there was some sloppiness here and there but he had two exciting spots (the back-handspring and the plancha onto Maxx Muscle) and also appeared to work his ass off. Sadly it was too little too late and this ended up being the beginning of Renegade’s slide into the bottom of the card. (**)

Schiavone and Heenan talk about the history between Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri. Parker was in love with her first, then Sherri hit her head and now loves him back, so apparently they’re dating or something? Either way their teams are about to meet for the Tag Team Championship so there might be some chaos that arises from that.

WCW World Tag Team Championship
Bunkhouse Buck & ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater [c] [w/ Col. Robert Parker] vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) [w/ Sister Sherri]

1995 has a lot of bad when it comes to mainstream wrestling but it also opened the doors for goddamn BUCKHOUSE BUCK AND DICK SLATER to be Tag Team Champions. You probably don’t really care or find that interesting but I’m fascinated with this and kinda love it. Bunkhouse Buck is on my long list of WCW favorites so it’s cool to see him get some gold around his waist. Slater is alright but did most of his interesting work outside of the WWF and WCW which I haven’t seen so I can’t comfortably comment on him unless you wanna talk about his match with ‘Iron’ Mike Sharpe at WWF The Big Event back in 1986. No sane person wants to do that though.

Slater with a cheap shot, Booker reverses a corner Irish whip and belts him with a clothesline. Slater with a drop toehold into a chinlock, Booker counters into a standing wristlock. Harlem Heat tag in and out with a side headlock until Buck finally makes the tag and traps Booker in a wristlock. Booker tries powering out, Buck connects with a knee to the spine and a standing front chancery. Booker backs Buck into his corner. Ray tags in and belts Buck with a clothesline but chokes him instead of covering him then settles into a reverse chinlock. Booker tags in and connects with a leg lariat for the 1…2…Buck kicks out and Booker slaps on a reverse chinlock of his own. Buck escapes, Booker connects with a hip toss into a measured kneedrop for another two-count. Ray tags in and Buck quickly rolls over to Slater to tag out. Ray brings Slater to the corner and hits countalong rights that eventually get countered with an inverted atomic drop. Ray is stunned but doesn’t go down until Slater hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. Ray headbutts Slater in the gut and tries to choke the life out of him, using Slater’s own bandana around his neck. Fashionable outside of the ring but a terrible idea inside. Booker tags in, Buck knees him in the back and Slater tosses him out, Booker hitting the steel steps. Buck hits Booker with his tag rope and Sherri checks on her charge, rolling him back in. The champs take over, using quick tags to beat Booker down in their corner. Slater hits a side Russian legsweep, Booker manages to kick out of the lateral press. Slater powers Booker up and connects with a piledriver, but has to take the time to pull him into the center of the ring so his pinfall attempt isn’t successful. Buck once again tosses Booker over the top rope, behind the ref’s back so a DQ isn’t called.

Buck settles into a reverse chinlock, digging his knee into Booker’s spine. Booker escapes by splashing Buck in the corner but he misses a flying something or another and goes ass-first into the top turnbuckle. Slater tags in and hits a belly-to-back suplex for the 1…2…nope. Slater with a kneedrop and tries to keep Booker’s shoulders down but he keeps preventing the pinfall. Buck tags in, the champs hit a double boot to the midsection, Buck goes back to the reverse chinlock. Buck DEADLIFTS Booker and slams him to the mat to prevent a DDT, then tags in Slater who hits another swinging neckbreaker for the 1…the 2…the KICKOUT. Slater opts for a submission, turning Booker over into a high Boston Crab. Ray breaks it up with a big boot, Buck phantom tags (ugh) in and applies a half-Crab. Booker escapes and RAY GETS THE HOT TAG, going ham on the Tag Team Champions. Ray hits a powerslam on Buck, Slater breaks up the lateral press with an elbowdrop. All four men are in the ring, Buck tosses Ray out so they can double team Booker. Buck covers Booker (who isn’t the legal man) and Ray breaks it up. As the action continues in the first ring, Parker and Sherri kiss in the other. The Nasty Boys show up and hit Slater with his own cowboy boot, Ray covering for the 1…2…3. DICK SLATER WASN’T THE LEGAL MAN THOUGH. I DON’T THINK. I’M CONFUSED.

Harlem Heat defeated Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater [c] when Stevie Ray pinned Slater following interference from The Nasty Boys to win the WCW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (16:50)

  • Since both teams were heels the crowd didn’t know who to cheer for, and ended up silent for most of the match until Parker and Sherri started making out and The Nasty Boys showed up. This further marred an already dull match, which went way too long and lost steam about halfway through. I love both teams but this one was not very good, or at least not very interesting. Given that Schiavone and Heenan focused more on the Parker/Sherri tension I’m guessing they agreed. (*1/2)

Parker and Sherri continue making out, both managers oblivious to the result of the match. Love trumps pro wrestling. An angry Bunkhouse Buck pulls Parker off of her and lets him know they lost while Harlem Heat confront Sherri. Sherri pretends it was a ploy to help them get their belts back. If I had a nickel for every time a woman was embarrassed to be in love with me I could pay for a dotcom ten years over.

‘Mean’ Gene stops Buck, Slater, and Parker. Buck admonishes Parker for being distracted over the past few months with Sherri. Parker says he’s serious about Sherri and that he runs ‘this here outfit’, sending them off to the showers and promising to get the belts back for them. Parker wipes off the lipstick on his face and says Sherri makes him feel like he’s 20 years old, but also promises to help his team regain the titles. The man is torn, can’t blame him.

Schiavone and Heenan hype the two remaining matches on the card and announces next month’s PPV Halloween Havoc. We then go backstage to ‘Mean’ Gene who’s standing by with Arn Anderson. Before the interview takes place they watch a video package summarizing his friendship/feud with Ric Flair. It’s actually a pretty interesting one: Flair has gone off the rails trying to be number one in the wake of Hogan’s arrival last year and in turn has lost his drive, alienating Anderson in the process who’s sick of having to fight his best friend’s battles for him and wants to beat some sense back into him. Back live Anderson says he’s a nervous wreck because he has to trade fists with someone he loves more than God. Anderson says that tonight he gives everyone his word: he’s going to give Flair all he’s got and whatever the outcome he will respect himself and Flair will respect him as well. It’s a great promo I didn’t do justice in this overly long paragraph. The hype for this one makes it feel like the TRUE main event of the show.

‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson vs. ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair

Flair and Anderson have never faced one another before, having spent the majority of the latter’s career side by side in The Four Horsemen. WCW picked a great place to do this, right in the heart of Horsemen country. There are even wrestlers in the crowd to check this one out, including Brian Pillman, The American Males (Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Scotty Riggs), Col. Robert Parker, Big Bubba Rogers, Alex Wright, and Eddie Guerrero. This match feels really big, it’s a shame they didn’t have Michael Buffer do the introductions to add to it.

Flair with a side headlock, Anderson with a drop toehold and a WOO that pops the crowd. Anderson with a side headlock and shoulderblock, Flair charges and gets shoved and slapped for his troubles. Flair bails to the floor to regroup. They trade wristlocks, Anderson flips Flair to the mat and repeatedly stomps his left arm. Flair gets slapped once again and the crowd goes wild for Double A. Flair with a hammerlock, Anderson reverses, Flair with a leg trip into a front chancery, Anderson quickly escapes and counters with a hammerlock. This is seamless wrestling and beautiful to watch. Schiavone brings up the fact Flair never gave Anderson a shot at the World Title as a negative thing but Anderson was his Four Horsemen buddy, he never WANTED one. Come on. Anderson keeps working on Flair’s left arm, trying to pull it out of its socket. Flair rolls out of the armbar into a side headlock, Anderson counters with a headscissors, Flair escapes and chops Double A right to the mat. GREAT EXCHANGE. Flair with a corner Irish whip, Anderson catches him with an elbow and goes to the top. Flair tries to hit him but Anderson swats him away and locks in a sleeperhold. Flair flattens him in the buckles, Anderson isn’t fazed and hits a flying knee to the back from the middle buckle. Anderson follows up with a hammerlock slam, and Flair begs off for the first time in the contest. Anderson cares not and goes back to the hammerlock. Flair tries to escape with chops, Anderson drives him back to the mat by using the hair.

Anderson repeatedly wraps Flair’s arm around the ringpost and keeps the pressure applied into an armbar. ARN ANDERSON IS SO GOOD, Y’ALL but that’s something you already know and probably didn’t need to be repeated to you. Flair backs Anderson in the corner and connects with a chop, Anderson hits him with a series of lefts and a corner Irish whip that sends The Nature Boy to the apron. Anderson charges, Flair holds down the top rope and Double A goes FLYING to the floor. Flair follows up with A TOP ROPE DOUBLE AXHANDLE, making it one of the few times he successfully hit an aerial move. That’s how you know this one is special. Flair continues his offense inside the ring with more chops and a pin-point kneedrop that Anderson sells by rolling to his stomach and humping the ground. Flair covers and tries to use the ropes for leverage but Anderson keeps kicking out. Anderson with a series of lefts into a backdrop out of the corner and repeatedly tries to cover but Flair kicks out. Flair begs off and gets the ref out of position, hitting Double A with a low-blow. Flair tosses Anderson to the floor and connects with another chop, strutting in celebration. Anderson catches Flair with a blow and backdrops him, The Nature Boy splatting on the protective mats. Anderson tries a suplex on the floor but Flair reverses it and now it’s Double A the one going splat.

Back in the ring Flair hits a beautiful delayed vertical suplex but is too out of it to make the cover and they both lay there. Flair finally rolls over and covers for the 1…2…nope. Flair with another knife-edged chop out of a corner Irish whip and covers but Anderson once again kicks out. Anderson tries to bring Flair over with a sunset flip, Flair launches a fist but hits nothing but canvas. Anderson rakes the eyes across the top rope and whips Flair into a tree of woe position in the corner. Anderson stomps and chokes him, breaking the hold before getting DQed. Anderson unhooks Flair and calls for the DDT. He goes for the hold but Flair blocks it by holding onto the ropes. For some reason this hurts Anderson despite going the same speed as he would have if he hit it. Flair to the top, Anderson slams it off (duh) and Anderson covers for the 1…2…kickout. Anderson tries a double axhandle from the second rope, Flair counters with a clothesline and locks in the FIGURE FOUR, the crowd on their feet. Flair PUNCHES ANDERSON’S KNEE to try and weaken it. Anderson wakes up, spits in Flair’s face, and turns it around but Flair gets to the ropes. Both men struggle to get to their feet, Flair clips Anderson’s left knee. He goes for the Figure Four, Anderson counters with an inside cradle for the 1…2…FLAIR KICKS OUT. Flair dares Anderson to hit him while he peppers him with jabs. He tries an Irish whip but Anderson’s knee gives out. Brian Pillman shows up on the apron. HE DECKS FLAIR, Flair hits him back, Pillman kicks him in the back of the head and Anderson hits the DDT for the 1…2…3! ANDERSON WINS.

Arn Anderson defeated Ric Flair via pinfall with the DDT (23:02)

  • Flair and Anderson put on an absolute clinic here, one of the best matches in the history of WCW without a doubt. The early stages had them reversing each other constantly, a byproduct of knowing each other so well, and the action built and built until they were just slugging it out trying to get the upper hand. Anderson looked like a goddamn SUPERSTAR in this one as he proved to not only be on Flair’s level but maybe even slightly ahead. Anderson looked like he was about to become a next-level babyface and then Pillman out of nowhere attacked Flair and cost him the match. On a match-only level it was a stupid way to end such a hard-fought and dramatic contest but on a storyline-level it eventually makes sense as the story unfolds. It’s just a shame they go that route because I really think they could have had something with Arn finally leaving Flair’s shadow and maybe entering the World Title picture himself. Eh what we get is pretty damn good to, but it’s the what ifs that keep me awake at night, you know? Anyway this is a MUST-WATCH for any longtime fan, ending notwithstanding. (****1/2)

We get a video package hyping the War Games match and the feud between Hulk Hogan and, sigh, The Dungeon of Doom. Can’t we just end the show with Flair/Anderson and call it a day? After that we get a video of The Giant crushing Hogan’s dumb custom motorcycle with an even dumber monster truck, which happened on Main Event earlier tonight (I feel déjà vu, so I probably said that earlier). Then we get ANOTHER video focused on the Hogan/Dungeon feud but this one is way better than the first one at least so there’s…that?

Cut backstage where ‘Mean’ Gene is with Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting, & Lex Luger. They’re in full camo, from their attire to their face. They are READY TO GO TO WAR and SHOW IT by YELLING A LOT. Hogan mentions ‘DTA – Don’t Trust Anybody’, so now I know where Steve Austin got it from.

War Games: The Match Beyond
Hulk Hogan, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Sting, & ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger [w/ ‘The Mouth of the South’ Jimmy Hart] vs. The Dungeon of Doom (Kamala, The Shark, Meng, & Zodiac) [w/ The Taskmaster]

Michael Buffer is back to do the introductions, and the cage gets its own pyro show as it lowers to the ring. Man I miss War Games. NXT did an okay version on one of their TakeOver shows but it wasn’t the same. Not by a long shot. Buffer announces a special stipulation to the match: if Hogan’s team wins then The Taskmaster MUST FACE Hogan in the cage right after. Both teams come out to the same generic military music, the War Games theme I guess, even Hulk Hogan who I fully expected to force his own theme into the presentation. For some reason they’re rocking an American flag aesthetic as well, which makes no sense since they aren’t facing EVIL FOREIGN MENACES or anything.

Sting and Shark start off for their respective teams. Interesting. Shark immediately goes a clubberin’, stepping on Sting’s sternum trying to cave it in. Shark bites Sting, because HE’S A SHARK, but he misses a follow-up corner splash. Sting sets up for the Sting Splash but Shark bails to the other ring, so he decides to hit a flying clothesline over both sets of ropes instead. Nice. Sting slams Shark but hurts his back in the process, so I HOPE IT WAS WORTH IT. Sting tries to slam again but his back gives out and Shark lands on top for the 1…oh wait there’s no pinfalls my fault. And now, two minutes in, we’ve got a BEARHUG. Maaaaan. Sting breaks out and Shark tries to launch himself over both ropes but can’t do it and gets hung out to dry. Shark catches Sting and throws him to the canvas, his shark makeup already gone due to sweating. North Carolina needs to invest in some air conditioning. Sting kicks at Shark’s hamstrings, clipping the knee to bring him to the mat. Sting applies the Scorpion Death Lock but no one can submit yet so it’s a waste of time.

The Dungeon win the coin toss (SHOCK) and in comes the goofy-ass Zodiac. Sting easily beats him down and puts on a Scorpion Death Lock but Shark breaks it up. That was a dumb thing to do when they’ve got the DAMNED NUMBERS GAME. Shark and Zodiac double-team Sting, Taskmaster and Meng climbs the cage to watch for no apparent reason except to block the view for the people who paid tickets to be front row. Randy Savage enters the ring to even the odds and he’s a house of fire. Shark powerslams Sting, Savage goes after him but Kamala and Meng pull his leg under the cage to try and pop it out of the socket or break it or whatever. Someone didn’t lower the cage properly, hmmm.

Kamala is the next entrant for the Dungeon and they regain control. What a difference in talent and star power between these two teams, MY GOD. Sting fights off Kamala, Shark grabs him from behind so Kamala can attack. Nothing interesting happens and in comes Lex Luger to even things up once more, hitting Kamala and Shark with a big double clothesline. Clobberin’ and clubberin’, I’m honestly losing interest but I’m trying not to because it’s WAR GAMES DAMMIT. Luger accidentally hits Savage in the back of the head, Savage goes after Luger while Sting tries to break it up. Meng enters last for the Dungeon and takes advantage of the in-fighting, mowing all three down like nothing.

Hulk Hogan enters last and the MATCH BEYOND officially begins. Submit or surrender. Hogan throws powder in the eyes of Meng, Zodiac, and Kamala then lays in some real weak right hands. Zodiac gets caught in the middle of the rings and gets slingshotted around with every right Hogan throws. More powder gets thrown, Savage and Sting send Meng head-first into the cage. Zodiac attacks Luger, Hogan body rakes him which is super effective even though it looks like he cuts his nails perfectly. Hogan and Luger throw Kamala intot he cage, as does Zodiac, while Shark and Meng beat Sting down in the other ring. Hogan and Luger finally interject to help him out. Hogan puts Zodiac in a Camel Clutch and after some ‘YES! NO!’ because it’s the Zodiac the ref calls it.

Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Sting, & Lex Luger defeated The Dungeon of Doom when Hogan made Zodiac submit to a Camel Clutch (18:48)

  • While not the worst War Games of all-time (1998, I’m looking at you with fire in my eyes), this was probably the most boring at least that I’ve seen. The Dungeon of Doom were always hard to take seriously and seeing them trying to oppose people like Randy Savage and Lex Luger was hilarious; it felt like a weird jobber match for most of it. There were no big spots outside of throwing powder and no one bled because it’s 1995-era WCW and people get fired for that. It’s a watered down version of a hardcore match featuring one team that shouldn’t have even sniffed the two cages. Blehhhh. (*)

Taskmaster tries to leave but WCW Security forces him back to ringside to live up to his end of the bargain. Sting grabs Taskmaster and forces him into the cage, the ref closing the door. Hogan uses his ripped shirt and sends Taskmaster repeatedly into the cage walls. Taskmaster escapes but Hogan continues the assault with more cage shots, then brings him back inside. Taskmaster begs for mercy, his Dungeon and Hogan’s friends all gone from ringside for some reason. Hogan untaps his wrist and chokes Taskmaster with it. Hogan connects with a Big Boot as The Giant shows up. He throws the ref away and enters the cage, USING THE ROOF TO HOP INTO THE RING. He then HOPS THE ROPES to the other ring and attacks Hogan. Hogan with rights, Giant no-sells them and then TWISTS HOGAN’S NECK IN A SNAPPING MOTION. Hogan falls to the mat, shaking and squirming. Savage, Luger, and Sting return as The Taskmaster and Giant bail from the ring. The trio and Jimmy Hart check on Hogan, who’s not moving. Buffer calls for paramedics on the house mic. Heenan absolutely LOVES this, Schiavone does not, and in come the end credits.

*****

Final Thoughts: Fall Brawl 1995 features two of the best matches in WCW history with Badd/Pillman and Anderson/Flair. The rest of the show can be forgotten though, including that dull as dirt War Games match that did not live up to the legacy of that match’s history in any way whatsoever. Watch the two matches I mentioned and skip the rest, unless you’re curious about seeing a Renegade match DOESN’T totally suck. That was a nice surprise too, honestly.

  • Best Match: Arn Anderson vs. Ric Flair
  • Worst Match: War Games
  • Best Moment: Badd/Pillman goes into sudden death and they just LET LOOSE
  • Worst Moment: Seeing The Dungeon of Doom presented as a worthwhile team worthy of the goddamn War Games

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