Vintage Best And Worst: WCW Fall Brawl 1996

“…The most important thing ever.”

It’s me again with another installment of Vintage Best and Worst. This time we’re tackling the most important thing to ever happen to anything ever.

As always, follow me on Twitter at @DavidDTSS, check out more goodies at The Smoking Section and don’t fake the funk on a nasty dunk.

Now, without further ado, wrestling nostalgia!

Best: Two Ringz!!!

Guys. Hey. Guys. Look. The WCW two-ring set-ups are my boo bear. They just lend themselves to so much greatness like Sting jumping from one ring to another or Juventud bouncing from one apron to one ring rope to another to Konnan’s face. Two rings next to each other make every match at least 20 percent better. If TNA really wanted to get my attention they would have (*cough*stopped pushing washed up WCW guys treated Samoa Joe with some competence handcuffed Jeff Jarrett backstage and not let him wrestle never hired Russo*cough*) gone with the two rings and called it the “rectangular oval” instead of the six-sided ring.

Best: The Benefit of Knowing What’s Coming

It’s really cool to watch these events when you know what’s at the end of the tunnel. At this point in 1997, DDP was transitioning into a good/great wrestler from being the fat brawler with the annoying valet (One day, I’ll explain why Kimberly was the WORST). But here he is doing spinning power bombs, tilt-a-whirls and chain wrestling with Chavo.

It’s probably no coincidence that DDP has found a way to stay relevant and make more money after wrestling because he seems to legitimately one of the hardest working guys ever. He went from chubby manager to one of the only heavyweights having decent matches – despite the fact his body looks like it’s encased in tobacco. What’s cool is watching him and knowing he’s only going to get better.

Worst: That Finish Wasn’t This Finish

If DDP is going to have a match with a Guerrero, it needs to have that ending. Because that power bomb on Eddie is the best use of the Diamond Cutter of all time and they wasted it on an episode of Saturday Night that isn’t even freaking on the Network.

Worst: Scott Norton and Ice Train Are Still Wrestling

I’m pretty sure that WCW didn’t give a sh*t about half of its mid card at any given point in the company’s existence. That’s the only way to explain that Ice Train and Scott Norton have been given two (2) PPV matches on consecutive months. I guess Train is looking for revenge for losing last month due to “arm grabbing” and hired Teddy Long as his manager to help out. Meanwhile, Teddy Long is watching a tag team get separated into a singles match. It’s basically his worst nightmare ever. He’s living his GM episodes of Smackdown! in reverse.

The main difficulty with the WWE Network is that I don’t see the Nitros and episodes in between the PPVs so I have no idea what could possibly have facilitated more wrestling between Ice Train and Scott Norton. And no. Nope. Not at all. I’m not going to dig around to find out the deeper story between the two. I’m just mad they formed too early. If they were around a few years ago, they could have been Scottrain and walked out with a talking baby every week.

Worst: Is This Morse Code For “I Quit”?

“I Quit” matches are supposed to be legendary. Bob Backlund’s multi-year reign ended on an “I Quit” match. Flair and Funk had the best one of all time and The Rock ruined Mick Foley’s children’s lives in an “I Quit” match. So why did anyone think that Norton and Ice Train deserved such a distinction?

Also, the point of an “I Quit” match is that you’re supposed to make your opponent say those words, you twit, I quit, I quit, I quit. So naturally this match ends with a Full f*cking Nelson and Scott Norton tapping out to the microphone. So basically they had a match in a ring with a microphone there. Scott Norton is basically the chick who tried to talk into CM Punk’s air microphone.


Last time we say Konnan, he was wrestling Ric Flair and dressed in traditional Mexican garb that sort of looked like one of the dancers from Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. But the loss to Flair made him go to the streets and now he looks like Tyler Perry Presents: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo: God Why Am I A Bad Daddy?! Whatever. Just go with it.

Best: Konnan Carries Juventud or
Worst: What Is Juventud Doing?

Juventud had a rough start to his match. He starts by walking backwards to the ring and goes ass over teakettle across the steps. You can hear Dusty losing his sh*t, too. While the match isn’t bad per se, it’s pretty sloppy at parts, probably due to this being Juventud’s first PPV match. He just seemed overhyped and too excited in the ring.

That’s where Konnan comes in. He just says screw it and starts tossing Juventud across the ring until the match is over. Basically, he saved what would and should have otherwise been a disaster. Now, if he’d just pull his pants up…

Best: Rey Misterio With Knees

It’s going to be hard for me to come up with new ways that Rey Misterio in WCW was boss. Seemingly every Monday for two years, he wrestled a Mexican wrestlers and had great matches. No story. No drama. Just flippy, super great matches.

This month’s opponent is Super Calo, who I generally just remember as “Guy Mexican Wrestlers Beat.” The best part, though, is the end of the match which features Rey basically going Doodle Jump on the ropes and the DUAL RINGZ for a hurancanrana win.

Man, life was so great before Misterio started looking and moving like boudin with tattoos.

Best: No Anachronistic Jericho Music

The WWE Network has had some major issues with music and we all know the company is reluctant to pony up money and make changes (R.I.P. Adam Rose’s OG theme). But for some reason, half of Jericho’s WCW matches have Jericho’s Y2J theme because *wanking motion*. I’m just glad this match has generic WCW Hotline on-hold music. Don’t screw with my brain!

Best: Benoit Vs. Jericho is happening.

It’s hard to argue against Chris Benoit as the best wrestler in America in 1996. Chris Jericho is Chris Jericho. This match is great. Add in an actual hot crowd that’s all in on Horsemen stuff and we have one of the best matches of 1996 randomly tucked into a WCW event.

What’s beautiful about this is the two guys really put on a great main event style match that wasn’t just no-selling and cruiserweight spots. The best part is they were both over and had the crowd buying into Jericho as the match went on. Plus, it ended in a top rope belly-to-back suplex, which is one of the best non-finisher finishes guy consistently pull out.

Worst: Did You Know The NWO Is A Thing?

Here’s another reason the mid-card was essentially meaningless in WCW: the commentators spent the entire show talking about Hulk Hogan and the NWO. They didn’t care about the matches going on. Ever. Even now on RAW, Cole and JBL will ignore a match but it’s usually a Fandango match on RAW. But a PPV match deserves attention. We get it, the NWO is taking over. But Benoit and Jericho are putting on a clinic.

Worst: Only One Guy Here Can Wrestle

Every single tag team match in WCW in 1996 was the same, but on varying levels of mediocrity. The tag team formula has been around for ages and this match doesn’t vary for a second. Babyface up, heels cheat, heels beat down, hot tag, the end. This Nasty Boys vs. Harlem Heat match was the same formula but super sh*tty.

At least they kept it short and they nobody won via excessive mustarding like on Uncensored 95…which I’ll have to review pretty soon I think.

Best: Ric Flair’s A Hustler Baby, He’ll Sell Water To A Well

Remember a few weeks ago when Ric Flair showed up on RAW and could barely get anyone to understand his take on The Shield vs. Evolution? Well, 18 years ago, Ric Flair could sell anything. Including Fall Brawl T-shirts. I want one now and forever thanks to Ric.

I don’t give a damn about your “phone number no longer active” sign, WWE Network. I CAN STILL SEE THE NUMBERS!

Worst: Macho Man Is Color Blind

Macho has crazy outfits all the time, but he’s not even matching here. That purple totally clashes with the bedazzled Nitro flames.

Worst: Big Show Is In The NWO Now

Just one month ago in 1996 time, The Giant was losing his title to Hogan via adamantium title to the head. Now, in two weeks 2014 time, he’s a member of the NWO. God, this is so incredibly dumb. There was no point to him joining and it even defeated the “shh these guys are all WWF guys” theme. When you think about a year from now The Giant will be in WCW and Savage will be with the NWO, you’ll realize why this was all sort of stupid.

It would make sense for The Giant to be with NWO just so they could give Savage someone to beat to make him look stronger for his match with Hogan at Halloween Havoc, but in the end, The Giant wins via all three members of the NWO helping and Nick Patrick being evil. The matched served zero purposes and ended up just making everyone involved looks dumb and weak.

Would you guys mind if I took that last sentence and cut and pasted it for every other NWO match ever from now on?

Worst: Dammit, Logic Is Going To Make This Look Dumb

I’m about to write about one of the coolest, most badass moments in my childhood as a wrestling fan, but first I have to acknowledge how incredibly flawed the logic of the “Sting Imposter” angle was. The story after Fall Brawl was that Sting was booked overseas or something during the Nitro where he “turned his back” on WCW. Of course, an imposter Sting, placed by the NWO was the one who attacked Luger, but WCW didn’t know that. Here are some of the ways they could have known:

— They could have talked to Sting at any moment before he left the country.

“Hey, man, see you Monday.”
“Well, actually, I’m going to another country.”
“Oh, Okay. I’ll remember that in case a fake you shows up and kicks me in the solar plexus”

— They could have seen wrestling results from said Japan event.

— They could have talked to Sting at any point since Monday to see where he was. It’s pretty inconceivable that a guy would dress up in his full bedazzled Sting regalia, step out of the limo, pose and beat up someone then walk up to the whole group the next week and be all “hey, that totally wasn’t me there. Your bad.” It’s not like he put on an invisibility cloak and got found out like the pedophile at the end of Scooby-Doo here, guys.

— Luger was RIGHT THERE! How did he not know that wasn’t Sting? “I looked you right in the eye…” then how did you not know it wasn’t him?! God, you Britta everything, Lex. This is literally all his fault.

Best: Arn Anderson vs. Scott Hall

Scott Hall is an underrated seller and Arn Anderson is an underrated badass. I don’t care how you rate him as a badass. He’s underrated. The great thing is that for the past 10 years of Fall Brawl history, the Four Horsemen were heels, bouncing around the ring and putting guys over. Now, they got to let loose and toss guys around the rind. Arn is just ruthless and Scott Hall is taking the beating…until of course the heels win the coin toss.

The heels always win the coin toss. The only person who bets against the heels winning the coin toss is Chevy Chase in Dirty Work.

Best: Ric Flair Being Ric Flair

I know what history and over-thinking wrestling fans will say: Ric Flair had the same match every time. Chops. Beg. Top Rope. Leg. Figure Four. Blah blah. But you just don’t get how he got the crowd into his matches. He just knew how to milk a crowd and make everything he did believable and entertaining.

This match is no different. Instead of running in the match like a ball of fire and doing the typical babyface run-in, he stood in the empty ring, dared the NWO to come to him and did some crazy nut grab to Hogan and wrecked shop. I’ve watched this match a million times and I get a new chuckle out of it every time.

Worst: You Are All Idiots

This clearly isn’t Sting. Now, this isn’t hindsight talking. This is a functioning set of eyes seeing that the guy in the ring isn’t Sting. Luger aka The Worst Friend Ever, still doesn’t realize that the guy literally head butting him and looking at him in the eye is nowhere near the guy who’s supposed to be his best buddy. The crowd is chanting “we want Sting.” But none of the guys in the ring knows what’s going on.

Lex Luger is a worse friend than Miz’s dad is a dad.

Best: The Real Reason The NWO Angle Worked

WWE won and writes history. So they will tell you that WCW was winning because they stole all the WWF guys, had a lucky NWO angle and cheated on their live shows.

The real reason I tuned in to Nitro was to 1) watch the cruiserweight matches and 2) see Sting beat up NWO guys. I’d venture to guess that most of you felt the same way. And it all started here.

The Fall Brawl 96 story was essentially every Dragonball Z story ever condensed into 25 minutes. The heroes get beat up and overpowered by the villains and sit around waiting for Goku to show up. Sting totally was Goku here, after clearly spending the week in the hyperbolic time chamber he’s dropping hammers on the NWO and saving the day. If Flair knew how to reel fans in, Sting knew the perfect notes to hit for a great hero storyline. This was it. Sting was Goku taking out the Ginyu Force or Nappa or someone before powering up and taking on the boss. And yes, this makes Flair Piccolo because that’s what WCW did to him. I’m sorry.

But the beauty of this angle is that it was built from the very beginning of Hogan’s run at WCW. Sting wasn’t pissed because his sh*tty friend thought he was someone else. Sting was pissed because everyone put him in the friend zone. Basically, the fans, WCW and the wrestlers treated Hogan like he was the catch from the moment he got to the company. He was the guy they wanted to be with even though Sting was there with us the whole time. He was the loyal one. The guy who looks just as good, has just as great of a personality and never leaves our side. But he’s not the flashy Hogan with the nice car and the muscles. We took Sting for granted and he was fed up. It had been building since 1994 when, after Hogan showed up, Sting wasn’t even booked for two of the next three pay-per-views and was put to the side.

But he was there for us anyway, just waiting for the moment the crappy jock would cheat on us, and even then, we still doubted the guy who was there for us. So Sting did what every fed up friend zone occupant does: he changed his hair, painted his face and started carrying a baseball bat.

This is the peak of WCW’s storytelling and it’s head-and-shoulders above anything else they did with the NWO.

Now, if we can just pretend Starrcade 97 never happened then we’d be in a much better place.